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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 361

brother Manfred. Berthold was not a man of great ability and was handicapped
by being a foreigner. Manfred, who was able and popular, had no official
position, and was anxious to save his principality of Taranto. Innocent at
last had a chance to take over the kingdom peacefully, since there was no
strong leader to oppose him. He played skillfully on Sicilian dislike of
German rule, and so weakened Berthold's position that he resigned the regency
to Manfred. By that time so many nobles had gone over to the pope that Manfred
felt he could not risk a war. He made the best bargain he could for himself
— he was to keep Taranto and be vicar of most of the mainland —
and then surrendered the kingdom to Innocent. 
 The pope entered the realm on October 11, 1254, and was accepted everywhere
as the rightful ruler. Apparently the long struggle had ended with a complete
victory; the Hohenstaufens had lost their main source of strength and the
pope had added a rich kingdom to the weak and poverty-stricken states of
the church. But Manfred had been left in a difficult position; he was not
fully trusted by the pope, and his rights were not fully respected by the
more ardent supporters of papal rule. A dispute over land led to a fight,
and when Manfred's men killed one of his chief adversaries, Manfred was sure
that the pope would seize this opportunity to deprive him of all his holdings.
After all, he was a Hohenstaufen, even though an illegitimate one, and Hohenstaufen
excuses had not been very acceptable to the popes for the last quarter-century.
Manfred fled to the hills, raised a rebel army (including his father's old
Saracen body-guard), and soon was able to attack the papal forces. A victory
early in December almost dissolved the papal army, and Innocent died in Naples
a few days later. Manfred gained ground steadily, and it soon became apparent
that the church could not keep control of the kingdom. The whole wearisome
"Sicilian business" had to be taken up again by the new pope. 
 As frequently happened, the cardinals chose a mild and easy going successor
to an energetic and uncompromising pope. Alex ander IV (1254—1261)
had belonged to the party among the cardinals who favored compromise rather
than fighting, and as pope he patiently endured aggressions which would have
enraged Gregory IX or Innocent IV. That such a man felt that he had to continue
the war with Manfred is an indication of the momentum which the Italian policy
of the papacy had acquired. At first Alexander kept up the fight with his
own resources, but he soon 

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