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HILDEBRAND’S VICTORY. 339.
decrees of all; that the Roman Church has been, is, and will continue to be infallible; that whoever dissents from it ceases to be a catholic Christian, and that subjects may be absolved from their allegiance to wicked princes.” The power that could assert such resolutions was near its culmination. And now was manifest the superiority of the spiritual over the temporal power. The quarrel with Henry went on, and, after a hard struggle and many intrigues to draw the Normans’ over to him, that monarch was compelled to submit, and in the depth of winter to cross the snowy Alps, under circumstances of unparalleled hardship, to seek absolution from his adversary. Then ensued the scene at Canosa-a penitent in white raiment standing in the dreary snow of three winter days, January, 1077, cold and fasting at the gate, seeking pardon and reconciliation of the inexorable pontiff; that penitent was the King of Germany. Then ensued the dramatic scene at the sacrament, in which the gray-haired pontiff called upon Heaven to strike him dead upon the spot if he were not innocent of the crimes of which he had been accused, and dared the guilty monarch to do the same. Whoever will reflect on these interesting events cannot fail to discern two important conclusions. The tone of thought throughout Europe had changed within the last three ages; ideas were entertained, doctrines originated or controverted, a policy conceived and attempted altogether in advance of the old times. Intellect, both among the clergy and the laity, had undergone a great development. But the peculiar character of the papal power is also ascertained-that it is worldly, and the result of the policy of man. The outrage on Hildebrand shows how that power had diminished at its centre, but the victory over Henry that it maintained its strength at a distance. Natural forces diminish as the distance increases; this unnatural force displayed an opposite quality. Gregory had carried his point. He had not only beaten back the Northern attack, but had established the supremacy of the ecclesiastical over the temporal power, and that point, with inflexible resolution, he maintained, though in its consequences it cost Germany a civil war. But, while he was thus unyielding in his temporal policy, there is reason to suppose that he was not without misgivings in his theological belief. In the war between Henry and his rival Rodolph, Gregory was compelled by policy to be at first neutral. He occupied himself with the Eucharistic controversy. This was at the time that he was associated with Berengar, who lived with him for a year. Nor did the pope think it unworthy of himself to put forth, in excuse of the heretic, a vision, in which the Virgin Mary had asserted the orthodoxy of Berengar; but, as his quarrel with King Henry went on to new excommunications and depositions, a synod of bishops.
340 HIS EVENTUAL DEFEAT AND DEATH.
presumed to condemn him as a partisan of Berengar and a necromancer. On the election of Gilbert of Ravenna as antipope, Gregory, without hesitation, pushed his principles to their consequences, denouncing kingship as a wicked and diabolical usurpation, an infraction of the equal rights of man. Hereupon Henry determined to destroy him or to be destroyed; and descending again into Italy, A.D. 1081, for three successive years laid siege to Rome. In vain the amorous Matilda, with more than the devotion of an ally, endeavored to succor her beleaguered friend. The city surrendered to Henry at Christmas, A.D. 1084. With his antipope he entered it, receiving from his hands the imperial crown. The Norman allies of Hildebrand at last approached in strength. The emperor was compelled to retreat. A feeble attempt to hold the city was made. The Normans took it by surprise, and released Gregory from his imprisonment in the Castle of St. Angelo. An awful scene ensued. Some conflicts between the citizens and the Normans occurred; a battle in the streets was the consequence, and Rome was pillaged, sacked, and fired. Streets, churches, palaces, were left a heap of smoking ashes. The people by thousands were massacred. The Saracens, of whom there were multitudes in the Norman army, were in the Eternal City at last, and, horrible to be said, were there as the hired supporters of the Vicar of Christ. Matrons, nuns, young women, were defiled. Crowds of men, women, and children were carried off and sold as slaves. It was the treatment of a city taken by storm. In consternation, the blasted pontiff retired, with his infidel deliverers, from the ruined capital to Salerno, and there he died, A.D. 1085. He had been dead ten years, when a policy was entered upon by the papacy which imparted to it more power than all the exertions of Gregory. The Crusades were instituted by a French pope, Urban II. Unpopular in Italy, perhaps by reason of his foreign birth, he aroused his native country for the recovery of the Holy Land. He began his career in a manner not now unusual, interfering in a quarrel between Philip of France and his wife, taking the part of the latter, as experience had shown it was always advisable for a pope to do. Soon, however, he devoted his attention to something more important than these matrimonial broils. It seems that a European crusade was first distinctly conceived of and its value most completely comprehended by Gerbert, to whom, doubtless, his Mohammedan experiences had suggested it. In the first year of his pontificate, he wrote an epistle, in the name of the Church of Jerusalem, to the Church throughout the world, exhorting Christian soldiers to come to her relief either with arms or money. It had been subsequently contemplated by Gregory VII. For many years, pilgrimages to Palestine had been on the increase; a very valuable export trade in relics from that country had arisen; crowds from.

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