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The fourth volume of The New Cambridge Medieval History covers the eleventh and twelfth centuries, which comprised perhaps the most dynamic period in the European middle ages. This is a history of Europe, but the continent is interpreted widely to include the Near East and North Africa. The volume is divided into two parts of which this, the second, deals with the course of events - ecclesiastical and secular - and major developments in an age marked by the transformation of the position of the papacy in a process fuelled by a radical reformation of the church, the decline of the western and eastern empires, the rise of western kingdoms and Italian elites, and the development of governmental structures, the beginnings of the recovery of Spain from the Moors and the establishment of western settlements in the eastern Mediterranean region in the wake of the crusades.
'… one is … left impressed by the scope and ambition of the volume, especially when it is viewed as one element in a larger and hugely impressive enterprise … the essays … serve their purpose in being informative and authoritative.'
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in this volume. The recovery in July 1099 of the city of Jerusalem by crusaders after four and a half centuries of Muslim rule was the strongest indication of a shift in the balance of power from the eastern Mediterranean region to the west. Wherever in western Europe an apparatus of courts was still recognizably under a ruler's control and was staffed by officials answerable in some degree to him, centralization was possible. In England, the Normans took care not to dismantle the system they found there, although, it coexisted with local jurisdictions and with courts that were Christian. Historians of medieval England take pride in what they consider to be a precociously advanced system of government with a wealth of records, but England was not unique. The western empire, which, in the year 1000, had looked somewhat similar to England in governmental terms, had begun to disintegrate by 1100.
This chapter emphasizes the administrative underpinning that allowed a strengthened papacy to emerge at the end of the twelfth century under Pope Innocent III as the single most influential political and spiritual institution of Latin Christendom. The Lateran palace also served as administrative centre of the Roman church as well as of her temporal properties: the duchy of Rome and the patrimonies of the see of St Peter. From a very early period the popes were more than just bishops of Rome. Their position of leadership in the rest of Christendom, with regard to jurisdiction going back to the council of Sardica which allowed deposed bishops and other clergy to appeal to the Roman see, brought with it the frequent use of emissaries or legates as papal representatives, for instance at ecumenical councils. In the early twelfth century the college of cardinals included three ranks: bishops, priests and deacons.
The Salian century can been seen as falling into two parts: whereas Conrad II and Henry III reigned according to established customs, Henry IV was faced with problems that left him and most of his contemporaries without orientation. To medieval historians, Henry III was a pious ruler because he fought simony and his father Conrad II was rather less so because he did not. Some twenty years after Henry III's death, Pope Gregory VII formally abjured the dual allegiance of the bishops towards king and pope when he declared all investitures performed by laymen, including the kings, to be illegal. As far as the contest over investitures was concerned, Henry V opened negotiations almost immediately after his father's death. As king of Italy and emperor-to-be and as the son and successor of the pope's personal enemy, Henry V had to come to terms with Pope Paschal II himself.
In 1026, Conrad came down into Italy through the Brenner pass with a considerable army and was welcomed at Milan by Aribert. The progressive incorporation of temporal jurisdiction and military power into the ecclesiastical estates from the end of the Carolingian period and throughout that of the imperial dynasty of Saxony had so radically altered the public order as to make it impossible to compare regional power structures, in the Italy of Conrad II and Henry III, with the district divisions of Carolingian origin. The more or less general disintegration of regional coordination among the metropolitan churches and the dynasties of marquesses in the kingdom of Italy gave room for the military undertakings of Henry V, which were made easier by the occupation of the lands of the Countess Matilda and had been caused by new disagreements with the reforming popes.
When c. 1000 men from northern Europe whom the contemporary sources call Normans began to arrive in the south of Italy, the region was both temptingly prosperous and also unstable, particularly in the area of Lombard rule in the west and centre. The conquest of southern Italy fell into three stages. First, up to the early 1040s the Normans acted as mercenaries, selling their swords to almost every power in the south, except for the Arabs, fighting for the purpose of gain in Malaterra's succinct phrase. From 1042 onwards they acted in their own right, extending their operations from the Lombard zone into Apulia, and in the 1040s and 1050s employment turned into conquest. The papal investiture was a sign that the Normans were there to stay, and it recognized that by then their takeover was inevitable. The third phase was one of consolidation on the mainland, mopping up the last bastions of Byzantine rule in Apulia and Calabria.
The foundations of most of the aspects of high medieval culture in France, which came to fruition in the twelfth century, were laid firmly during the more fluid era of the eleventh century, during the long reigns of Henry and Philip. Henry's and Philip's reigns, like those of Hugh Capet and Robert II before them, were in many ways an institutional continuation of the royal rule of the Carolingians, but were marked by institutional evolution as well as continuity. The eleventh-century Capetians could count on the fidelity of only a handful of the territorial princes, and not even on all of them consistently. The princes of the far south-west of the kingdom were especially far from royal authority. The eleventh century in France was in many ways a turning-point, when fundamental changes took place in social and economic structures, power structures and in the religious and intellectual life.
The political map of Muslim Spain, by the middle of the eleventh century, had somewhat simplified. Given the great disparities in wealth and military strength between the various taifas, it was only a matter of time before some of the lesser statelets fell victim to the predatory ambitions of their more powerful neighbours. In the immediate aftermath of the death of 'Abd al-Malik al-Muzaffar in the autumn of 1008, however, the rulers of the Christian realms of the peninsula could scarcely have foreseen the political upheaval that within a very short time would lead to the disintegration of unitary rule in Muslim Spain, let alone the opportunities for spectacular self-enrichment and wholesale territorial expansion that would subsequently present themselves. The sovereigns of Leon had traditionally considered themselves to be the legitimate successors to the unitary Visigothic kingdom which had perished at the hands of the Muslim invaders in 711.
The century after Edward the Confessor returned from exile in Normandy to be crowned king of England in 1042 might be called the century of the Norman Conquest, which led to the formation of a short-lived Anglo-Norman realm. Normandy under Duke William was in the process of becoming the most powerful principality in the French kingdom. By 1047 the troubles of the duke's minority were over, and a victory over rebels at Val-fes-Dunes left him in a commanding position, strong enough to meet any new rebellion. The 1050s were a time of consolidation, when the frontiers of the duchy were strengthened, the authority of the king of France though acknowledged in principle was virtually excluded and a slow military expansion was begun. This prepared the way for the external conquests and triumphs of the 1060s. Bishops were liable to come under the same jurisdiction as the lay magnates. Their position in both England and Normandy was similar.
In 992 Basil II encouraged their activities by reducing the tolls on their ships paid for passage through the Hellespont to Constantinople. The effect was to favour Constantinople's role as the clearing house of Mediterranean trade. It underlined Constantinople's position as the cross-roads of the medieval world. This brought the Byzantine empire great opportunities. In the twenty-five years following Basil II's death the Byzantine empire had lost direction and momentum. The changing political conditions along the Byzantine frontiers would have alerted the imperial government to one of the disadvantages of the military expansionism espoused by Basil II. Constantine Monomachos's reign was pivotal. Education was at the heart of Constantine Monomachos's reforms. By 1095 Alexios had pacified the Balkans, brought peace to the church and restored sound government. Antioch was vital to Alexios' plans for the recovery of Anatolia from the Turks.
This chapter shows that during the eleventh and twelfth centuries the Croats were never unified under a strong central government. They lived in different areas: Pannonian Croatia, Dalmatian Croatia, and Bosnia, which were more frequently controlled by agents of Byzantium, Venice and Hungary. In 1036, Jaroslav's victory over the Petcheneks secured safe passage for merchants travelling from Kiev to Constantinople. Jaroslav's reign was one of the high points in the history of Rus' and his achievements earned for him the sobriquet the Wise'. He helped to lay the foundation for a codified law by issuing 'The Russian Law. During most of the eleventh and twelfth centuries Bulgaria experienced the period of Byzantine rule. In 1018 when Basil II conquered Bulgaria a number of Serbian principalities also fell under Byzantine rule. Although the Latin Christians were affiliated to Rome they continued to celebrate the liturgy in the Slavonic language even after its use had been condemned by the synod.
In the year 1000 the emperor Otto III arrived in Poland to elevate Gniezno to the level of archbishopric, thus creating the first Polish ecclesiastical province, to which the apostolic see had given its consent earlier. The ruler of Poland, Prince Boleslaw Chrobry of the Piast dynasty, managed to win Otto's trust by supporting his project of the 'revival of the Roman empire' and was called 'an aide' of the empire. The newly formed Piast state was racked by a political disaster in 1031. The earlier attempts by Poland in the late tenth century had no lasting effect, and the bishopric of Kolobrzeg, founded in the year 1000, disappeared. The junior princes' position was strengthened by the support of the archbishop of Gniezno, the head of the Polish church. The role of money increased, and during the reign of Mieszko Stary his mint issued numerous coins with Hebrew inscriptions.
In the eleventh century the northern and central parts of the Scandinavian peninsula were occupied by a people who are often called Lapps but who called themselves Saami. Contemporaries distinguished four main groups of Scandinavians: Danes, Götar, Svear and Norwegians or Northmen. By the year 1200 most of the territory occupied by these Scandinavians had been incorporated in the three medieval kingdoms: Norwegian kingdom, Danish kingdom, and Swedish kingdom. The Danish kingdom was the first to be firmly established. The Swedish kingdom was formed by the unification of the Götar and the Svear. The earliest Scandinavian historians, writing in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, believed that the Danish kingdom had existed since time immemorial and that the kingdoms of Norway and Sweden were relatively recent creations formed by the unification of many small kingdoms. The founder of the medieval Norwegian dynasty was Harald Hardrada. The earliest of the provincial laws, for the west Norwegian province, survives in a twelfth-century version.
The kingdom of Hungary was formed and consolidated as a part of Latin Christendom during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Hungary was at the intersection of three cultures: the Roman Christian, Byzantine and nomad. And its development was influenced by each. The dynasty that ruled Hungary was the house of Arpád, whose first Christian king was Stephen I. While monastic communities conforming to the Greek rite flourished in Hungary until the thirteenth century, the missionaries and priests who gathered at Stephen's court were westerners and Roman Christianity became the majority religion. Pagan revolts broke out in 1046 and 1061, and pagan practices persisted. By the twelfth century, landed property was becoming the basis of Hungarian society, with groups of different legal status living on royal, ecclesiastical and noble estates. Hungary's social and economic structure underwent radical changes. A strong Christian kingdom emerged with a social organization, where the beginnings of money economy, chivalry and early Gothic appeared.
The Old Testament prophets and patriarchs inspired Bernard of Clairvaux with striking images of papal intervention in the church and the world. While later medieval theologians and jurists thought of Bernardine titles as designating the rights and prerogatives of the papacy, for Bernard they signified the duties of the pope, who must be active in exhorting and correcting the people of Christendom. The twelfth-century papacy was often obliged to rely on the practical assistance of members of the religious orders to no less a degree than the Gregorian papacy in the late eleventh century. Both the First Lateran Council and Eugenius III identified the spiritual reward of the crusaders as 'remission of sins'. The papal defeat of 1156, inaugurated three decades of harmonious cooperation between the papacy and the kingdom of Sicily. The premature death of the formidable Emperor Henry VI removed a serious threat to the independence of the papacy and gave the pope an unprecedented freedom of action.
The elections of 1125 and 1138 had provided cliques with opportunities to display and perhaps to abuse their power, even though kings do not appear to have feared the electoral procedure as such. Imperium or Imperial rule was the personal right of governance and justice which the king exercised in his three kingdoms. Imperium signified a geographical space called the Roman empire, occasionally rendered inaccurately as 'the German empire' by the imperial chancery simply because that reflected the realities of rule. To take examples from Germany, Lothar III, Conrad III and Frederick Barbarossa in turn referred to the authority of the imperium. Since the 1030s the western empire had consisted geographically of three kingdoms: Germany, called 'the Roman kingdom' to establish consistency with the title king of the Romans, Italy called 'the kingdom of Lombardy', its designation when conquered by Otto the Great, and Burgundy, whose southern portion bordering the Mediterranea.
This chapter discusses the kingdom of Italy and the papal states in the time of Lothar II and Conrad III. Conrad III deeply involved in the problems of Germany, never went to Italy after succeeding Lothar to the German throne, although he seriously entertained the idea of an Italian campaign to oppose Roger II of Sicily as an ally of the Byzantine empire. The developments in Rome were the most striking indication of the changes which were taking place throughout central and northern Italy to the advantage of the city-states. After the death of the king of Sicily, William II, in the autumn of 1189, a few months before Barbarossa himself perished in the east, Henry claimed the succession to the kingdom of Sicily, as he himself said, 'the ancient right of the Empire', based on the concept of an Italian kingdom, following a tradition going back to the Lombards and the Franks.
The settlement and, eventually, conquest of southern Italy by the Normans during the eleventh century had greatly altered both its society and its political structures, above all by the conquest of Muslim Sicily. Both in the duchy of Apulia and the principality of Capua the ruler's effective command became confined to part only of his nominal dominions. Dukes Roger Borsa and William lost control of the coastal regions of Apulia, and found it increasingly difficult to exercise authority in inland Apulia and northern Calabria. The growing instability in southern Italy can be graphically illustrated by the problems of the Benevento region in the second decade of the twelfth century. The Pope Honorius II was the unifying force behind the south Italian coalition against Roger II in 1127-28. His involvement stemmed in part from the increasing intervention of the papacy in south Italian affairs, especially after the conclusion of peace with the western empire in 1122.
All Spain' in that summer comprised the area from the Atlantic in the west to the Ebro in the east and to the north of a line running from Coimbra by way of Toledo to Medinaceli and the border of the kingdom of Saragossa, beyond which lay the kingdom of Aragon and the county of Barcelona. The history of twelfth-century Spain was enacted on constantly shifting foundations. As count of Galicia, Queen Urraca's first husband, the Burgundian Raymond of Amous had had his centre in the remote north-west. By the terms of their marriage settlement Urraca and any child of the marriage were to inherit the kingdom of Aragon if Alfonso died first. The division of Alfonso VII's realms in 1157 points a crucial truth about twelfth-century Spain which the most celebrated event of Alfonso's reign, his imperial coronation, tends to obscure.
The extant royal charters and the historiography of St-Denis offer a perspective on the Capetians that was highly configured by ecclesiastical concerns. From their Robertian origins the Capetians proclaimed their dynastic rights to the crown. The charters of Louis VI and Louis VII announced a new policy towards the commercial groups who converged upon towns in northern France spurred by the revival of trade at the turn of the eleventh century. Except for new attention to townspeople and Suger's ideological formulations Louis VI and Louis VII introduced few governmental innovations. Overshadowed by the might of the Anglo-Norman-Angevins, Philip Augustus was reluctant to respond to the call for the Third Crusade. As an aftermath of Bouvines, the last decade of Philip's reign may be characterized by the expected fruits of victory: peace, prosperity and the re-expression of ideology. Bouvines represented a victory of a Capetian king of the Franks over a Roman emperor.
Seigneurie (lordship) was a system of government in which the seigneur or lord, dominus in Latin, exercised for his own profit powers that were regalian in origin, that is, powers of a public character. The formation of lordships resulted in a parcelling-out of the kingdom which gave birth to great principalities, baronies or castellanies, those cells of local life generated by a castle. Besides these collective lordships, called 'communes', the lay and ecclesiastical principalities demand attention first. The ecclesiastical peers were always chosen from among the twenty-six prelates who owed direct allegiance to the king. They all held sees on a curving frontier which, north-east of Paris, separated the Capetian domain from Angevin Normandy, Flemish Amiénois and Vermandois, imperial Lorraine and Burgundy. The ecclesiastical lordships were gradually constructed on the basis of a vast temporal power in town and country by the extension of the privilege of immunity, to which were added economic concessions related to market and minting rights.
The tangible assets Earl Robert brought to the Angevins were the city and stronghold of Bristol in England, the county of Glamorgan in Wales, numerous other castles and properties in the south-west and elsewhere in England, together with Bayeux and Caen in Normandy, and a network of loyal Anglo-Norman and Welsh allies and vassals. Many within and without the church from the mid-1140s onwards increasingly saw young Henry Plantagenet, heir to Normandy, as the logical and rightful heir to England as well. In and after 1144, events outside the Anglo-Norman world counted towards Angevin success. Henry II's success in governing his vast dominions with their varied populations and frontiers rested, in part, on his boundless energy and pragmatism. Castles and administrative posts in England had been split between the nobles, clergy and royal officials so that no particular group or faction exercised overwhelming power.
This chapter reviews the development and after-effects of the Norman Conquest of England in Scotland, Wales and Ireland, which made they felt far into the twelfth century and beyond. As in England, long reigns made for political stability, strengthened by the fact that the five rulers represented only two different generations. Three brothers, Edgar, Alexander I and David I, were followed by David's two older grandsons, Malcolm IV and William I 'the Lion'. The Welsh, united culturally by their use of a P-Celtic version of the common Celtic family of languages, were a pastoral people organized in clans, recognizing the superior chiefship of warring dynasties which would claim the right to provide a king over a distinct gwlad. In Irish history the twelfth century must always be the age of conquest, mostly belonging to families of Norman, Flemish, Breton or other continental background, exploited their military skills and techniques to acquire kingdoms and trading towns in the south of Ireland.
Under John II and Manuel I Byzantium remained a wealthy and expansionist power, maintaining the internal structures and external initiatives which were necessary to sustain a traditional imperial identity in a changing Mediterranean world of crusaders, Turks and Italian merchants. The revival of imperial interest in the crusader states had permanent consequences in that it led to a renewal of Byzantine links with Western Europe. Yet the period following Manuel's death and the overthrow of the regency government of Alexios II saw reversion to something like the isolationism of John II's early years. The Byzantine state was one of the most centralized in the medieval world, and never more so than in the period 1081-1180, when the loss of central and eastern Anatolia forced the empire's military elite, as well as its bureaucratic elite, to identify with the capital as never before. Under the successors of Manuel I, the Comnenian system, centred on Constantinople, was programmed for self-destruction.
The First Crusade ended with the conquest of Jerusalem on 15 July 1099, resulting in the foundation of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem. The Franks were very unevenly distributed throughout the country. On Christmas Day 1100 Godfrey's Brother Baldwin I was crowned as the first Latin king of Jerusalem. No king of Jerusalem became more involved in Antioch affairs than Baldwin II. The Latin kingdom consisted of royal domain, lordships and church lands, leaving aside the exempt Italian concessions in the port cities. King Baldwin I originally had only one viscount for the whole of the kingdom, but as the kingdom grew this became impractical and in 1115 there was a major administrative reform which broke up the kingdom into several vicecomital districts, Jerusalem with Judaea, Nablus with Samaria, Acre, and Tyre. With the exception of church lands, the properties of the military orders and the autonomous quarters of the Italian communes, the kingdom became, for practical purposes, fully feudalized.
In the course of the tenth century, his Fatimid dynasty had risen to power, first in North Africa and then in Egypt and Syria, while the original Arab empire under the older 'Abbasids dynasty of caliphs had finally disintegrated under the weight of its own excessive taxation. Like the Fatimids, the Buyids were also Shi'ites or partisans of the fourth caliph 'Ali, in preference to the 'Abbasids who claimed descent from the Prophet's uncle. The tribes of bedouin Arabs, collectively known as the Banu Hilal, who made their appearance in North Africa in the middle of the eleventh century, shared with the Seljuqs a similar involvement in the conflict between Cairo and Baghdad, so much so that they are commonly said to have been sent from Egypt by the Fatimids in 1051 to punish the Zirids of Ifriqiya for their desertion to the 'Abbasids.
For thirty years by 1063, Nizam al-Mulk devoted every effort to shaping the jerry-built Seljuqid political enterprise into a centralized absolutist monarchy. The decadence of Seljuqid power in western Iran after the death of Ma'sud coincided with the collapse of Seljuqid rule in the East. In 1078 Malikshah's brother Tutush conquered Syria, but from the outset the latter's ambitions were not easy to restrain. The occupation of Damascus reunified Syria for the first time since the death of Tutush, and the way in which unity was achieved ensured that Nur al-Din could exploit the city's military and fiscal resources with no fear of rebellion. In the eyes of Nur al-Din and Saladin, the Isma ʾilis interpretation of Islam espoused by the Fatimids was flagrantly heretical. The Ayyubids had had their eye on Mesopotamia and Mosul since Saladin's time, and in any case it made sense to pre-empt any efforts at a Zengid revanche in Mesopotamia and north Syria.