University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

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 349

speaks of remission of sins in general terms, he avoids the precise language
of Innocent III, who had promised opponents of Markward the same remission
of sins as that granted to those who fought the Saracens in Palestine. Even
in writing to the Lombards Gregory shows the same restraint; they are promised
remission of sins but not a full crusade indulgence. 7 
 This war for defense of the church, to stay within Gregory's terms, did
set one important precedent. It was financed, as crusades were coming to
be financed, by an income tax imposed on the clergy by the pope. The tax
could not be collected in lands which remained under the emperor's power,
but we know that the clergy of Sweden, Denmark, England, and northern Italy
all paid a tenth of their revenues in 1229 to support the war. The case of
the French clergy was a little different since they were already paying a
fiveyear tenth, imposed in 1225 for support of the Albigensian Crusade. That
crusade had ended in 1226, and Gregory asked that the final payments be sent
to him for the war against Frederick. He was fairly successful in this request
and received about 100,000 livres tournois from France. At the same time,
he asked for financial aid from king Eric Laspe of Sweden, and the king and
barons of England. Laymen had no enthusiasm for his war and it is doubtful
that he received anything from these sources; the English refused his request
with some indignation. 
 Laymen might protest, but the clergy had to obey. A crusade tax had been
used to support a papal war in Italy; a tax for a crusade against heretics
in France had been diverted to raise an army to punish a rebellious emperor.
The pope had discovered the way to finance his military operations, to pay
for the secular support which he had to have in order to achieve his political
objectives. For the first time, the papacy could afford a first-class war.
 The initial struggle with Frederick II, however, was not entirely successful.
The papal armies started with real enthusiasm. Wearing the sign of the Keys
of Peter (here again Gregory avoided crusade symbols) they stormed into the
mainland territories of the kingdom of Sicily. Frederick's prompt return
from Syria frightened them into retreat, and the papal army was getting decidedly
the worst of the fighting when peace was arranged in 1230. Frederick was
conciliatory and did not, at this time, desire an all-out war with the papacy.
Gregory was still suspicious of the emperor, but he was running short of
men and money. The bishops of Beauvais and 
7 Lucien Auvray (ed.), Les Registres de Gregoire IX, I (Paris, 1 896), cols.
2 1 1 ff. (nos 
350, 351, 352). 

Go up to Top of Page