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INNOCENT (POPES)

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Originally appearing in Volume V14, Page 578 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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INNOCENT (POPES). His first acts were to restore the prestige of the Holy See in Italy, where it had been overshadowed by the power of the emperor Henry VI. As pope it was his object to shake off the imperial yoke, as an Italian prince to clear the land of the hated Germans. The circumstances of the time were highly favourable to him. The early death of Henry VI. (September 1197) had left Germany divided between rival candidates for the crown, Sicily torn by warring factions of native and German barons. It was, then, easy for Innocent to depose the imperial prefect in Rome itself and to oust the German feudatories who held the great Italian fiefs for the Empire. Spoleto fell; Perugia surrendered; Tuscany acknowledged the leadership of the pope; papal rectores once more governed the patrimony of St Peter. Finally, Henry's widow, Constance, in despair, acknowledged the pope as overlord of the two Sicilies, and on her death (November 27, 1198) appointed him guardian of her infant son Frederick. Thus in the first year of his pontificate Innocent had established himself as the protector of the Italian nation against foreign aggression, and had consolidated in the peninsula a secure basis on which to build up his world-power. The effective assertion of this world-power is the characteristic feature of Innocent's pontificate. Other popes before him—from Gregory VII. onwards—had upheld the theory of the supremacy of the spiritual over the temporal authority, with various fortune; it was reserved for Innocent to make it a reality. The history of the processes by which he accomplished this is given elsewhere. Here it will suffice to deal with it in the broadest outline. In Germany his support of Otto IV. against Philip of Swabia, then of Philip against Otto and finally, after Philip's murder (June 21, t 208), of the young Frederick II. against Otto, effectually prevented the imperial power, during his pontificate, from again becoming a danger to that of the papacy in Italy. Concessions at the cost of the Empire in Italy were in every case the price of his support (see GERMANY: History). In his relations with the German emperors Innocent acted partly as pope, partly as an Italian prince; his victories over other and more distant potentates he won wholly in his spiritual capacity. Thus he forced the masterful Philip Augustus of France to put away Agnes of Meran and take back his Danish wife Ingeborg, whom he had wrongfully divorced; he compelled Peter of Aragon to forgo his intended marriage with Bianca of Navarre and ultimately (1204) to receive back his kingdom as a fief of the Holy See; he forced Alphonso IX. of Leon to put away his wife Berengaria of Castile, who was related to him within the prohibited degrees, though he pronounced their children legitimate. Sancho of Portugal was compelled to pay the tribute promised by his father to Rome, and Ladislaus of Poland to cease from infringing the rights of the church. Even the distant north felt the weight of Innocent's power, and the archbishop of Trondhjem was called to order for daring to remove the ban of excommunication from the repentant King Haakon IV., as an infringement of the exclusive right of the pope to impose or remove the ban of the church in the case of sovereigns. So widespread was the prestige of the pope that Kaloyan, prince of Bulgaria, hoping to strengthen himself against internal foes and the aggressions of the Eastern Empire, submitted to Rome and, in November 1204, received the insignia of royalty from the hands of the papal legates as the vassal of the Holy See. Meanwhile Innocent had been zealous in promoting the crusade which ultimately, under the Doge Dandolo, led to the Latin occupation of Constantinople (see CRUSADES). This diversion from its original object was at first severely censured by Innocent; but an event which seemed to put an end to the schism of East and West came to wear a different aspect; he was the first pope to nominate a patriarch of Constantinople, and he expressed the hope that henceforth the church would be " one fold under one shepherd." By a bull of October 12, 1204, moreover, Innocent proclaimed the same indulgences for a crusade to Livonia as the Holy Land. The result was the " conversion " of the Livonians (1206) and the Letts (1208) by the crusaders headed by the knights of the Teutonic Order. The organization of the new provinces thus won for the church the German King Lothair, whom he induced to undertake a campaign against Anacletus. The German army invaded Italy in August 1132, and occupied Rome, all except St Peter's church and the castle of St Angelo which held out against them. Lothair was crowned emperor at the Lateran in June 1133, and as a further reward Innocent gave him the territories of the Countess Mathilda as a fief, but refused to surrender the right of investiture. Left to himself Innocent again had to flee, this time to Pisa. Here he called a council which condemned Anacletus. A second expedition of Lothair expelled Roger of Sicily (to whom Anacletus had given the title of king in return for his support) from southern Italy, but a quarrel with Innocent prevented the emperor attacking Rome. At this crisis, in January 1138, Anacletus died, and a successor elected by his faction, as Victor IV., resigned after two months. The Lateran council of 1139 restored peace to the Church, excommunicating Roger of Sicily, against whom Innocent undertook an expedition which proved unsuccessful. In matters of doctrine the pope supported Bernard of Clairvaux in his prosecution of Abelard and Arnold of Brescia, whom he condemned as heretics. The remaining years of Innocent's life were taken up by a quarrel with the Roman commune, which had set up an independent senate, and one with King Louis VII. of France, about an appointment. France was threatened with the interdict, but before matters came to a head Innocent died on the 22nd of September 1143. See Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopddie, " Innocenz II.," with full references. Gregorovius, History of Rome in the Middle Ages, trans. by Hamilton (London, 1896), vol. iv. part ii. pp. 420-453. (P. SM.)
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