Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume II: The later Crusades, 1189-1311
V: The Fourth Crusade, pp. 152-185 PDF (11.7 MB)
156 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES II Innocent III kept writing letters: to the archbishops and high clergy of the west to spur them to greater efforts; to the patriarch and clergy of the kingdom of Jerusalem, explaining why the crusade had been delayed; and to the princes of "Outremer" to urge them to compose their quarrels and make ready to participate in the coming war on the "infidel". Finally, at the very end of the year, he took a bold and unprecedented step. This was nothing less than an attempt, announced in another circular letter to the archbishops, to finance the crusade by a levy on the incomes of the clergy.<8> The pope announced that he and the cardinals and clergy of Rome had assessed themselves in the amount of a tenth of their revenues for the next year for the expenses of the crusade. Now by his apostolic authority he commanded all the clergy of both orders to contribute a fortieth of their revenues for the following year to the same cause. Exception was made in the case of certain religious orders, like the Carthusians, Cistercians, and Premonstratensians, who were to contribute only a fiftieth.<9> Each archbishop was to call together the bishops of his province in council, and transmit to them the papal command. Each bishop in turn was to summon the clergy of his diocese, and order them to make a true return of one fortieth of their annual revenues, see that the money was collected and deposited in a secure place, and report to the papal court the amount collected. The archbishops were authorized to use some of the money to help pay the expenses of indigent crusaders. In addition the pope commanded that a chest be placed in every parish church to receive the gifts of the faithful, who were to be exhorted in sermons every Sunday to make such contributions, with the promise of papal indulgence in proportion to the amount of their alms. Innocent recognized the exceptional character of the levy, and assured the clergy that it would not be used as a precedent for establishing a papal tax on their incomes. Nevertheless, the measure seems to have met pretty generally with at least passive resistance. More than a year later, Innocent had to write to the clergy of France reproaching them for their laxity. He reminded them that they had voluntarily promised his legate, at the Council of Dijon, to 8 See the letter sent to archbishop Ludolph of Magdeburg, dated December 31, 1199 (Innocent III, Epp., an. II, no. 270 [FL, CCXIV, col. 828]). Roger of Hoveden, Chronica (Rolls Series, LI), IV, 108, quotes the letter sent to England. Potthast, Regesta pontificum Romanorum, I, no. 914, lists a copy sent to the archbishop of Ragusa (Dubrovnik). 9 On the general question of papal taxation for the crusades, see below, chapter X, pp. 347-358. See also M. Villey, La Croisade, essai sur la formation d'un theorie juridique (Paris, 1942), pp. 135 ff., and in general A. Gottlob, Die papstlichen Kreuzzugssteuern des 13. Jahrhunderts (Heiligenstadt, 1892).
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