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Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The impact of the Crusades on Europe
(1989)

I: The Legal and Political Theory of the Crusade,   pp. 3-38 PDF (14.2 MB)


Page 12

 12 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES 
servants" who refuse, "when the Lord of heaven and earth implores their help
in recovering his own patrimony, which has been lost, not by his fault, but
by theirs." Like his predecessors, he preferred to hover over the intermediate
ground between political and legal theology. He argued from a familiar feudal
situation: "Certainly, if some king in this world was thrown out of his kingdom
by his enemies, and if his vassals did not venture their persons as well
as their property for him, would he not, when he recovered his lost kingdom,
condemn them as disloyal, and conceive unthought-of torments for them. .
. ?" This unattractive picture of a worldly king became less attractive still
when the pope drove home the comparison with the King of kings "as if ejected
from the kingdom which he provided at the price of his blood". This is merely
another variation on the theme of defense, but the picture of the enemy as
a criminal or rebel was becoming clearer and acquiring a more obviously legal
force. In the same bull, dated 1214, Innocent argued that the divine command
to love one's neighbor requires men to fight to free their fellow-Christians
"held among the unfaithful Moslems in the slave-yard of a fearful prison";
there are many thousands detained in "slavery or prison", he said.24 This
is a variation on the theme of persecution, and it is still as much an exhortation
as an attempt at legal justification. Even in this great age of canon law,
the legal basis remained uncertain. The key ideas were still the "recovery"
of land rightfully possessed, and the "defense" against the "attack" (possession
of the Holy Land); and these were determined on theological grounds. 
The classic form of the plenary crusading indulgence is to be found in Innocent's
decree calling for a new crusade, promulgated during the Fourth Lateran Council.
The indulgence is based on the power of binding and loosing which was conferred
on the pope by God's mercy and by the authority of the blessed apostles Peter
and Paul. What was granted was "full pardon (plena venia) of their sins",
if "truly confessed with a contrite heart and mouth". It was granted to those
who undertook this labor (the crusade) in their own persons and at their
own expense; but the same "full pardon" was conceded to those who paid someone
else's expenses, or who went at the expense of someone else. As had long
now become the custom, the property of crusaders was to be under the protection
of the church during their absence.25 In the same bull, he revoked the "remissions
and indulgences" granted 
24. Tomassetti, op. cit., Innocent III, III, 223—224 (no. 62: 1208),
and 274—278 (no. 92: 
1214). 
25. Ibid., III, 300—304 (no. 107); Hefele, tr. Leclercq, Histoire des
conciles, V-i, pp. 1390 if. 


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