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Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume II: The later Crusades, 1189-1311
(1969)

X: The political Crusades of the thirteenth century,   pp. 343-375 PDF (7.1 MB)


Page 345

Ch. X POLITICAL CRUSADES OF THIRTEENTH CENTURY 345 
Christendom as the pope understands it. The crusade against Hohenstaufen
and Ghibelline is waged to protect the states and the political authority
of the papacy. 
 The difference between the two kinds of crusades is not merely a modern
refinement; it was apparent to men of the thirteenth century. The great canonist
Henry of Segusio, usually known as Hostiensis, who had seen political crusades
at close hand, states the distinction very clearly in his Summa.1 He reports
that he found many men in Germany who argued that a crusade against Christians
was neither just nor decent. These men admitted that crusades against infidels,
or even heretics, were justified, but denied that there was any legal basis
for a crusade against rulers who were merely disobedient to the pope. Hostiensis
gives the official answer, that disobedience to the commands of Christ's
vicar on earth is almost sure to lead to heresy, and that attacks on the
unity of the church are far more dangerous than loss of land, however holy,
overseas. But he is not very optimistic about the effectiveness of these
arguments and concludes that the overseas crusade will always seem more desirable
to the "simple", even though the crusade against disobedient Christians is
more reasonable. 
 More reasonable, perhaps, but the church was not so rationalistic before
the thirteenth century. There had been some talk of remission of sins for
the soldiers who died fighting for Leo IX against the Normans, and Gregory
VII had given full absolution to the op ponents of Henry IV, but in neither
case was there the full equiv alent of the crusade indulgence. Moreover,
churchmen of the twelfth century were less willing to use force than the
eager leaders of the eleventh-century reform movement. Gratian is clearly
embarrassed in discussing the problem of the use of force against heretics
and excommunicated Christians. He concludes that war against such enemies
of God and the church is just, but he does not equate it with the crusade
in the Holy Land.2 Bernard of Clairvaux is even more doubtful. He admits
that a defensive war against heretics may at times be necessary, but he prefers
the methods of peaceful persuasion.3 On the whole, except for a half hearted
and unsuccessful attempt of Alexander III (1 1 59-1 1 8 1) to organize an
army to attack the Albigensian heretics, the popes of the twelfth century
were not inclined to use the crusade against inhabitants of Christian Europe.
Even when Barbarossa drove 
Hostiensis, Summa aurea, III, 34 (de voto), paragraph 19 (in quo casu). 
2 Decretum, secunda pars, causa XXIII. See especially quest. V, C. 47, and
quest. VIII. 
H. Pissard, La Guerrc sainte en pays chrétien (Paris, 1912), pp. 22—23.


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