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Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The later Crusades, 1189-1311

X: The Political Crusades of the Thirteenth Century,   pp. 343-375 PDF (13.1 MB)

Page 346

Alexander from Italy and installed an anti-pope at Rome, there was no talk
of a crusade against the emperor. 
 Here, as in so many other cases, the great innovator was In nocent III (1198—1216).
Determined to be obeyed, sure of his rights, he took without hesitation the
momentous step of pro claiming a crusade in order to preserve what he regarded
as the political rights of the church. In 1199, hardly a year after his election
as pope, Innocent first threatened, and then actually ordered, a crusade
against Markward of Anweiler and his adherents. The opponents of Markward
wore the cross and received the same indulgences as those who fought in Palestine.
It is true that Markward had touched Innocent on two of his most sensitive
spots. A loyal follower of Henry VI, he had attempted to keep control of
the march of Ancona after the emperor's death, even though Innocent was determined
to add it to the states of the church. Driven from the mainland by Innocent,
Markward took refuge in Sicily and began harassing the regency which Innocent
had set up for his ward Frederick II. But why was Innocent so sensitive on
these two points? It took almost a decade to convince him that a crusade
against the Albigensian heretics was the only solution to a difficult problem.
Why did he react so promptly against Markward, who was far less dangerous
to the faith? The only possible answer is that Innocent had become convinced,
during the pontificate of his predecessor, that it was absolutely essential
to the security and independence of the papacy to gain direct control over
central Italy and to make the most of its feudal suzerainty over the kingdom
of Sicily. These convictions became a settled part of papal policy, and were
the cause of most of the political crusades of the thirteenth century. 
 Innocent's action was more important as a precedent than as a military operation.4
A few hundred soldiers sent against Markward accomplished nothing. Innocent
then turned to Walter of Brienne, who had a claim to Taranto and Lecce, and
Walter enlisted a small group of Frenchmen who were given crusading privileges.
But Walter was far more interested in conquering his fief of Taranto than
in fighting Innocent's enemies, and the affair dragged on until Markward
removed the chief reason for a crusade by dying 
  If Innocent threatened a crusade against John at the height of the crisis
over Stephen Langton (1212), then he was ready to follow and expand his own
precedent soon after it was made. But it is not certain that he did so; see
S. Painter, Tile Reign of King John (Baltimore, 2949), pp. 188—192,
and C. R. Cheyney, "The Alleged Deposition of King John," in Studies . .
. presented to F. M. Powicke (Oxford, 2948). The writer's own belief is that
Innocent went no further than to threaten deposition; certainly, no crusade
was formally proclaimed. 

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