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

III: The Crusades of Frederick Barbarossa and Henry VI,   pp. 86-122 PDF (14.1 MB)

Page 89

the struggle, or stay long in the east while the other was at home. Nor was
the Saxon Henry the Lion a person to leave unwatched in Germany while the
emperor went off on a holy mission. Thus no serious efforts were made by
the three monarchs to work out concerted plans. There can be little doubt,
moreover, that the English and French monarchs resented the assumption of
crusading leadership by Frederick. What might have been a successful recapture
of the holy places by a combined west operating as a unit was thwarted by
those animosities, imperial and papal, monarchical and feudal, which, in
however modified form, continued to hamper western unity. 
 When the news of Saladin's offensive began to filter into Italy, Germany,
France, and England, the papacy undertook to direct and stimulate the emotions
aroused. Gregory VIII sent Henry, cardinal-bishop of Albano, with papal letters,
despite his ignorance of French and German, into France and the Rhinelands.
That the Lord would have permitted his church to suffer so horribly at the
hands of infidel enemies could be explained, in papal eyes, only by the overpowering
sins of the faithful. A successful crusade therefore could be undertaken
only by those who had corrected their "sins by voluntary chastisement"
and turned "through penitence and works of piety to the Lord. . . .
To those who with contrite heart and humbled spirit undertake the labor of
this journey, and depart in sorrow for their sins and in the true faith,
we promise full pardon for their offenses and eternal life." A pilgrimage
to be made by penitents was to avoid all show. Let them not go "in expensive
clothes or with dogs or birds or other things which seem rather to supply
delight and wantonness than to serve necessary uses. Let them go rather with
modest equipment and dress, in which they seem to be doing penance rather
than to be striving after vain glory."1 The cardinal himself in summoning
the German lay and ecclesiastical nobility to attend Barbarossa's "court
of Christ" (curia Christi) at Mainz on March 27, 1188, reiterated the
papal injunctions. "We think that all of you, after all idleness, all
curiosity, and temporal glory have been put aside, should be enjoined to
try to be present at the court of Jesus Christ with becoming seriousness
and modesty. Let all be so inflamed by the fire of love and obedience to
exalt the Christian name, that dress and deportment confess the faith which
our tongue professes."2 
 1 This letter is given in Ansbert's Historia de expeditione Friderici imperatoris
(ed. Anton Chroust, MGH, SS., n.s., V) pp. 6-10. (All the references to Ansbert,
which follow, are to this edition.) 
 2 Ibid., pp. 12-13. 

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