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 Papal Banner - Part 4

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Melisende
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PostSubject: Papal Banner - Part 4   Tue Nov 04, 2008 3:16 pm

William I & the Question of the Papal Banner

Continued on from Papal Banner - Part 3


From 1055 - 1056 Hildebrand was in Germany garnishing support from the Empress. The Pope elect Stephen X decided against Imperial support and began to look south to the Normans for military aid against what would surely be a German backlash. Then there was the incident of a "small civil war in Milan" that took Papal interest and this was soon followed by the death of Stephen X and the succession of Nicholas II (1059). Any "influence" that the Normans might have had was neutralised by Nicholas' decree regulating future Papal elections. Securing the election of the candidate of your choice was the nadir of political influence.

From: "Italy - The Papacy and the Normans":
"Nicholas's Norman alliance was less a dramatic diplomatic revolution than a response to the changes that confronted the papacy from Civitate onward. The alliance safeguarded papal interests in the south, ensured a measure of stability in Rome during a period of imperial impotence, and promised the independence that the reformers had sought in their notion of libertas ecclesiae (i.e., church immunity from secular control and jurisdiction). But the weakness of the empire also led the papacy to seek support in northern Italy."

So it was nothing more than a political alliance - to gain time for both Rome and the reformists within the Curia. There was no Norman standing behind the Papal throne - as there had been in the case of the Roman aristocracy and the Ottonians. They were merely there to "watch Rome's back" so to speak and provide the muscle should Germany decide to send an Imperial army south.

Yes, Normans did accompany Alexander into Rome in 1064 - two years after his election! And even after his entry into Rome, Alexander was still dealing with the thorny issue of an Anti-Pope - Honorius II (r.1061 - 1072) who had Imperial support.

And whilst there is the issue of whether William received a Papal Banner or had a Banner blessed by the Pope, forgive me if I fail to see how events many miles away in England would take precedence over events which had an immediate effect upon the Papacy.


A Ducal Promise??

The abridged version: Letter From Pope Gregory VII to William I (dated 24th April 1080)
"Gregory, the bishop, servant of the servants of God, to William, king of the English, greeting and apostolic benediction. I believe it is known to you, most excellent son, how great was the love I ever bore you, even before I ascended the papal throne, and how active I have shown myself in your affairs; above all, how diligently I laboured for your advancement to royal rank. In consequence I have suffered dire culumny through certain brethren insinuating that by such partisanship I gave sanction for the perpetration of great slaughter ..... "


And: Letter from Pope Gregory to William I (8th May 1080)
The cruxt of the letter deals with Gregory's request for William's "obedience" to the papacy for past favours.

William's letter dated 1080 to Gregory VII states his refusal to "profess allegiance to you and your successors ...."

Source: English Historical Documents (eds. Douglas, Whitelock, Rothwell, Reginald)


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