Monks, Philosophers, and Warrior Monks
In chapter 3, I examined the role that the Crusade idea and Crusading movement played in the articulation of structures of public authority and the formation of political order in the Latin West. To round out the picture of those developments, I now turn to some leading intellectual and spiritual figures of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and the ways they thought about the relation of Christendom to the Muslims. I show how these different ideas blended into an overall hostile view of the non-Christian world. With regard to the Muslim world, this hostile outlook was organized along two main axes: the Crusade and the mission. The era of the Papal monarchy was the golden age of the former, but it also saw the birth and advancement of the latter. The Crusade and mission are often seen as opposites: one is war, the other peace; one is carried out by the soldier, the other by the cleric; one is accomplished by the sword, the other by reasoning. But the aim of both mission and Crusade was the same: the expansion of Christendom. Nor were the means they employed in pursuing that aim as contradictory in practice as one might suppose. Christian arms and Christianized reason worked closely together, mutually supporting each other, even though reason seems to have sought the support of arms more often than Christian soldiers solicited the arguments of reasoning clerics. 1
1 The authoritative account of the crusade and mission is Kedar 1984. See also Siberry 1983. For the “Christianization of reason”, see Abulafia 1995. Rather than playing crusading and missionary ideas against each other, I try to show how strains of thought frequently characterized as peaceable, conciliatory, and preferring reason to violence ultimately demanded the complete submission of those called infidels. Should the infidels turn out to be “obstinate”—that is to say, not susceptible to the “compelling reasons” of the propagandists of the “true faith” and unwilling to renounce their own faith and identity—they would have to suffer physical violence. Just as the crusade was ever anew bringing about peace, missionary peace was pregnant with the crusade. Christianized reason, in the last instance, spoke the “iron tongue” of war, and in the Christian mental universe, war against the infidel was not unreasonable. SANCTIFICATION OF CRIME: ST. BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX
In both the crusade and the mission new religious orders played a central role. The time span under consideration here is bound by the emergence (most probably in 1119) and suppression (about two centuries later) of the first and most famous of the military orders, the Templars. The formation of the Order of the Temple was an important moment in the institutionalization of the First Crusade. The Order was a materialization par excellence of the crusade spirit. 2 But what is of interest here is not the history of the Templars per se, 3 but rather the spirit engendered by the First Crusade that found its ideal embodiment in the Knights of the Temple.
In both its self-representation and the view of a great majority of its contemporaries, the Order of the Temple was founded for defensive purposes. Like other military orders, however, the Templars were also encouraged to slaughter the infidel. 4 As John of Salisbury stated straightforwardly, the “normal occupation” of the Knights of the Temple was “to shed human blood. ” 5 It is a nicety of history that in Jerusalem they were given their quarters in, and derived their name from, the Temple of Solomon—the place that upon the capture of the city by the crusaders was washed with the “blood of unbelievers. ” 6 As an organization spe-
2 Cf. Blake 1970, 27.
3 For the history of the order, see R. Barber 1982, chap. 14–15; Forey 1985, 1992; Barber 1993, 1995.
4 Cf. Forey 1992, 184– 86.
5 Policraticus VII,21 (p. 173).
6 Cf. chap. 2 n. 43.
cialized in fighting the infidels, the Templars became an inspiration for subsequent Christian military orders. 7 But warfare against infidels was neither a novelty nor a contested issue in those times; to the contrary, by the time the first Templars took their vows, “holy violence” had achieved “a high level of general acceptance. ” 8 Even John of Salisbury, not their great friend, maintained that the Templars, “almost alone among men”, waged “legitimate war. ” 9 What was new, and unsettling to some, was that these knights were monks fighting infidels with secular arms.
A wide gap had been thought to exist between warriors and monks, though the latter had been called the soldiers of Christ. 10 The Templar, however, combined the figures of soldier and monk in one person; he was a monk who took up arms. For Isaac of L'Etoile, the abbot of a Cistercian House in Poitou, this was a deformity, the “Fifth Gospel”, and he labeled “the new knighthood” a novum monstrum. 11 Henry, archdeacon of Huntingdon, also wrote (around 1145) of a “certain new monster composed from purity and corruption, namely a monk and a knight. ” 12 But such critical views, even though voicing a legitimate concern, were rare. In general, the military orders were greeted with “enormous enthusiasm by lay people and clergy. ” 13 The critical minority, moreover, consisted mostly of “notable individualists” from Christendom's remote corners, whose writings had only a small circulation. 14 The Templar Founding Brothers, on the other hand, were close to the great and wealthy Cistercian abbeys. The greatest of the Cistercian abbots, Bernard of Clairvaux, wrote a highly influential defense of the milites templi. Soon the Templars were officially recognized by the Papacy. Papal bulls “underwrote the new order so unequivocally that henceforth doubts about the validity of the concept no longer found a place in the mainstream of thought in the western Church. ” 15 As the very embodiment of the new Christian militarism, the Templars and other military orders following in their footsteps came to be highly esteemed in crusading Christendom. Late in the eighth century, Alcuin, with Christ's pas-
10 See chap. 1 nn. 113–15.
11 Kedar 1984, 105; Zerbi 1992, 294; Barber 1995, 61.
12 Barber 1995, 41.
13 Nicholson 1995, 3.
14 Ibid., 38.
15 Barber 1995, 56.
7 Valous 1953, 32.
8 Barber 1995, 40.
9 Policraticus VII,21 (p. 173).
sion in front of his eyes, had spoken of “soldiers by the Cross. ” 16 Now, true soldiers of the cross had come into being.
Bernard of Clairvaux was perhaps the most famous monk of his time and one of the most influential men in all of Latin Christendom. He was “looked upon by all the peoples of France and Germany as a prophet and apostle. ” 17 Although not marked by great originality, his contribution to the Crusade was crucial. He interpreted the commonly shared ideas and practices that came to prominence with the First Crusade in a way that set into motion the spiritualization of the Crusade. 18 His most important contribution to Crusading ideology was his laudation of the Templars, De laude novae militiae (In Praise of the New Knighthood).
As the first military order, the Templars were an institution of a new kind. They were warriors under monastic vows, permanent crusaders subject to monastic discipline. They went far beyond what Guibert of Nogent had represented as a “new way of winning salvation. ” Guibert had had in mind laymen whose “ordinary way of life” was using arms and who could hope for salvation once the Crusade had given them the opportunity to slaughter the infidels instead of their fellow Christians. 19 But the Templars were monks, not laymen. They were holy warriors of a new type. As such, as already mentioned, they faced misgivings, suspicions, and even outright criticism, marginal as that criticism may have been. 20 Moreover, their dual nature as monks and soldiers appears to have created “uncertainty and doubt among the Templars themselves. ” 21 The outside criticism and the internal doubts together apparently plunged them into a “serious crisis. ” 22 To boost their morale, a certain Hugh the Sinner sent them a written sermon, the Sermo ad milites templi. 23 But in need of further reassurance and an authoritative justification of their mission, the Templars sought help from Bernard. 24
16 Alcuin to the brothers of the church of York, a.d. 795, Epistolae no. 43 (p. 89); Alcuin of York, 4.
17 Otto of Freising The Deeds I, xxxv.
18 Rousset 1945, 163, 167; Blake 1970, 29; Cardini 1974 (on Bernard, 210 ff.), 1993a.
19 See chap. 2 n. 1.
20 Cf. nn. 11, 12, 14. See Morris 1991, 280– 81; Barber 1995, 41 ff., 59 ff.; Nicholson 1995. For the later period, Forey 1992, 204–20.
21 Bulst-Thiele 1992, 58; Selwood 1996, 225, speaks of “self-doubt. ”
22 Graboïs 1992, 50.
23 Some historians hold that this Hugo peccator was Hugh of St. Victor; others opt for Hugh of Payns, the first master of the Temple (who was on a mission in the Latin West); and still others see the problem of authorship as unresolved. For a brief survey of these positions, see Selwood 1996, 223 n. 9.
24 See Emery 1990, 20; Forey 1992, 15; Barber 1995, 44.
Some maintain that Bernard helped the Templars formulate the Rule of the order. 25 Be that as it may, there is no doubt about his authorship of the Liber ad milites Templi, better known as De laude novae militiae. 26 The Templars found his help so important that they regarded Bernard as their founder. 27
In his Liber, St. Bernard created a positive image of the “new knighthood. ” A clever demagogue, he exploited “the currents of opinion which had been a precondition of the calling of the Crusade and which in turn had made the establishment of the Templars possible. ” 28 Bernard's pamphlet was marked with “clear brutality”, 29 and may well be “the most aggressive statement of militant Christianity. ” 30 But the saint who wrote it was a proponent of peace who devoted “a good portion of his time and all the weight of his personal influence” to endeavors to restore peace in Christendom. 31
"De laude novae militiae" includes sections sharply critical of knighthood. Bernard censured the lack of discipline, the luxury, and the effeminacy of knights. Regarding the ostentatious vestments, the horses covered with silk, and the arms painted and embellished with gold and precious stones, Bernard asked bitingly: “Are these military insignia or rather womanish ornaments?” Gold and jewels were unlikely to strike the enemy with awe, and silk was easy to pierce. 32 The holy man who praised the merging of soldier with monk was clearly upset because knights in their apparel looked feminine. The fusing of social orders implied in blending of monk and soldier was less disturbing to him than a blurring of gender differences. It was hard for him, he wrote, to see knights growing their hair just like women. With their hair falling over
25 The view that he did (held, e.g., by Cousin 1953; Valous 1953; Bulst-Thiele 1992, 61 f.) is questioned in Selwood 1996, 221. For an exposition of the Rule, see Barber 1995, 15 f.
26 The date usually given for the composition of Bernard's treatise is the early 1130s. Selwood 1996, however, argues that the text was written prior to the Council of Troyes in 1129, which promulgated the Rule and promoted the Templars.
27 Bulst-Thiele 1992, 60.
28 Forey 1992, 15; Barber 1995, 44– 45, cf. 38–39.
29 In his imagery Bernard “thirsts for blood. ” Daniel 1989b, 46.
30 Morris 1991, 281.
31 Emery 1990, 23.
32 Bernard Éloge de la nouvelle chevalerie II,3. The Rule of the order demanded that the Templars wear simple clothing and refrain from embellishing their weapons and horses. At the time of the Second Crusade these rules were transferred to crusaders. See Conrad 1941, 92–97. Cf. Eugenius III's crusading bull, Quantum praedecessores: “those who fight for the Lord ought not to care for precious clothes or elegant appearance … or other things that are signs of lasciviousness. ” Riley-Smith and Riley-Smith, 1981, 58–59. See also Gregory VIII's bull Audita tremendi (ibid., 67).
their eyes so they could not see, their feet entrapped in their long and extravagant tunics, and their gentle hands hidden in flowing sleeves, knights were obviously of little use as soldiers. 33
But Bernard's critique did not stop there. Armed with Augustinian “right intention” and “just cause”, he made a more substantial criticism of war. “Is there, O knights, a more stupendous error, a more insufferable madness, than spending so much money and so much labor for a war that brings nothing but death and crime?” 34 Wars and strife among Christians “are only caused by impulse of irrational anger, or desire for vain glory, or else by greed for terrestrial possessions of whatever kind. ” And, Bernard added, if these were the causes for war, it was safe neither to kill nor to be killed. 35 For the safety Bernard was principally concerned with was safety of the soul. Death of the body was the lesser evil—if it was evil at all. He who waged war for the wrong reasons lived as a murderer (vivis homicida) 36 —that is, in sin. Victory in such a battle would not save one from perdition. “Unfortunate is the victory if, vanquishing a man, you succumb to vice. ” 37 In this sense, waging war was evil, militia was malitia. If “he who kills sins mortally while he who is killed is lost for eternity”, no one could gain. 38
Bernard's criticism, to be sure, was a criticism of secular warfare and secular knighthood, militia saecularis. The Templars were something different, a new type of militia, novum militiae genus, unknown in previous centuries. 39 Their war was of a double nature. It was waged with bodily strength against the corporal enemy and with the force of the soul against vices and demons. Their armor was double as well: the body was protected with iron, and the soul with faith. As such, they feared neither man nor demon. 40 Bernard rejoiced at the sight of these warriors: they filled the world with monks! But how to praise them, as monks or as knights? 41
Rhetorician that he was, Bernard knew his answer before he asked the
33 Éloge II,3.
34 Éloge II,3; cf. Briefe no. 363,5 (p. 656).
35 Éloge II,3.
36 Ibid., I,2.
38 Ibid., II,3. For the context of Bernard's opposition of militia and malitia, see Graboïs 1992.
39 Éloge I,1.
40 Ibid., I,1; IV,8.
question. By calling the Templars monks, he had already made up his mind. He did not reduce the monk to soldier, but rather elevated the soldier to monk. 42 But the figure of the warrior monk was disturbing to a number of his contemporaries. Though the Templars' doubters were few and relatively powerless, their doubts stemmed from traditional Christian doctrine and had to be taken seriously. Combining monasticism and war was a “departure from scriptural teaching. ” 43 As followers of a “new kind of religion”, mixing “religion with military service” (as they stated in the Rule of the order), 44 the Templars represented a confusion of values to Christian traditionalists and caused unease. Being a cleric deeply involved in secular business, Bernard seems to have had doubts about his own composite nature. 45 But he set out to clear the Templars of any suspicion by defending and praising precisely their dubious dual nature. A great master of eloquence, Bernard was able to turn the Templars' weak point into a virtue.
Bernard boldly called the Templars milites Christi, soldiers of Christ— the conventional term for monks. To Bernard, abbot of Clairvaux, the ideal Christian life was monastic, and lauding the Knights of the Temple as monks was the highest possible praise. The first Crusaders had occasionally been styled milites Christi, it is true. But they had been soldiers of Christ only metaphorically—as secular soldiers who thought they were waging war for Christ. Now the Templars were proclaimed soldiers of Christ in a literal sense: They were simultaneously monks and professional killers. This new reality was full of implications that Bernard did not fail to draw out.
The Templars were an alternative to the secular army. They supplied Christendom with professional holy warriors, the perfect soldiers for its holy war. Secular knights waged war “not for God, but for the devil. ” The Templars, in contrast, were “the knights of Christ”, “God's militia. ” 46 Assured that it was the Lord they were fighting for, 47 they did not
42 Cardini 1974, 213.
43 R. Barber 1982, 227.
44 Cf. Bulst-Thiele 1992, 61.
45 See Bernard to Prior of Portes, a.d. 1147–50, Briefe no. 250,4 (p. 334): “Clamat ad vos mea monstruosa vita, mea aerumnosa conscientia. Ego enim quaedam Chimaera mei saeculi, nec clericum gero nec laicum. Nam monachi iamdudum exui conversationem, non habitum. ”
46 Éloge IV,7. In this sense, the Rule of the Order of Santiago described the founders 0of the order as having ceased to be the equites diaboli. Forey 1985, 184.
47 Éloge III,4.
need to worry either about committing a sin if they killed or about being killed themselves. For “death for Christ, either suffered or caused, does not incur any guilt and merits the greatest glory. ” 48 The crucial shift Bernard made here from the traditional ecclesiastical doctrine was not the assurance that the Templars would have eternal life. Heavenly rewards had been promised to soldiers fighting for a holy cause long before Bernard. 49 Bernard's daring novelty lay in assuring the Knights of the Temple that there was nothing wrong in killing. Convinced that the Templars were waging war for Christ, Bernard gave them carte blanche to kill. They were safe to violate the cardinal commandment non occides. 50 “The soldier of Christ”, Bernard was to repeat, “is safe when he kills, even safer when he is killed. If he is killed, it is for his own good; if he kills, he does it for Christ. ” 51
Bernard's earlier criticism of war soon evaporated and gave way to praise. The peace-loving saint incited Christians to war he considered holy. He spiritualized and sacralized war to the extent that the theological and juridical considerations of the just war doctrine became irrelevant. 52 Killing for Christ, in his eyes, was not homicide. Killing for Christ was killing His enemies, “the enemies of the Cross of Christ” and, as such, should be done without hesitation, with an intrepid heart. 53 As a knight, the Templar killed a corporeal enemy; as a monk, he killed vice incarnated. In Bernard's celebration of the new Christian knighthood, the “pagans” do not appear as human. 54 Their very being is blasphemous. They are the embodiment of evil: “malefactors”, 55 a force of darkness Bernard identified with Satan. 56 If the “detestation of Saracens” was characteristic of those times and needed an authoritative sanction, Bernard provided it. 57 The conclusion to be drawn was obvious. With the psalmist's voice behind him Bernard declared that killing the pagan gave cause
49 Cf. chap. 2 nn. 134, 136.
50 Selwood 1996, 230.
51 Éloge III,4.
52 Cardini 1974, 212–13. On how Bernard otherwise respected canon law, see Brundage 1992, 28.
53 Éloge I,1.
54 Ullmann 1975, 287, praised Bernard's “perennial wisdom and enduring humanity” as foreshadowing the “true Humanism” and represented him as “an inspiring force in the making of modern international law”, aimed at humanizing the “atrocious manner of waging war. ” This argument is only defensible on the premise that those whom the Christians were fighting were not human.
55 Éloge III,4. Cf. Delaruelle 1953, 58.
56 See Delaruelle 1953, 62; Dérumaux 1953, 69.
57 Cf. Christiansen 1980, 73.
for joy: “In the pagan's death, 'the righteous will rejoice when they see vengeance done.'” 58
Bernard's doctrine of malicidium—that the killing of non-Christians is a praiseworthy annihilation of evil and not the crime of homicide—is much more than a clever play on words. “Truly, he who kills a malefactor is not a homicide but, if I may say so, a malicide [malicida] and is clearly held to be the avenger of Christ in regard to those who do evil [qui male agunt], and the defender of Christians. ” Taking away a pagan's life was a gain for Christ and a cause of glory for the killer. “In the death of the pagan the Christian glories because in it, Christ is glorified. ” 59 A few lines later Bernard remarked that “[c]ertainly, the pagans should not be killed if there would be some other means of restraining them from their excessive harassment and oppression of the faithful. ” But the conditional of this sentence seems to indicate that Bernard did not believe that “other means” existed. In any case, his conclusion to this brief aside left no doubt about how the pagans were to be treated: “Now, however, it is better that they be killed than to let the scepter of wickedness remain resting on the land allotted to the righteous, so that the righteous might not stretch out their hands to do wrong. ” 60
The psalmist's “scepter of wickedness” resting on the “land allotted to the righteous” was here the pagans' existence itself. The very existence of non-Christians demanded that Christians take up arms. But while Bernard's stance most often placed holy war beyond the law, at moments he wanted to accommodate his warmongering to the doctrine of just war. It was the pagans, he claimed, who wanted war. He again cited the Psalms to call on the holy Christian warriors to fearlessly scatter those “peoples who want war” (gentes quae bella volunt). He found other Biblical references to support his case. Warriors of the “righteous nation that keeps faith” were encouraged to “scatter” all who did not obey the
58 Éloge III,4. Bernard stopped short of citing the other half of Ps 57.11 (58.10): “they will bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked”—probably because he lauded the Templars for washing themselves rarely (Éloge IV,7). Not washing was a sign of saintliness. Athanasius relates that St. Anthony “never washed his body, and never wiped the dirt from his feet except when necessity compelled him to cross through water. ” Life of Anthony 47 (Early Christian Lives, 38).
59 Éloge III,4. Cf. chap. 3 n. 262. Similarly, Hugo peccator argued that the Templars, killing infidels, hated not the man but the iniquity. Hugo justified the Templars' taking the spoils, pointing out that the infidels, on account of their sins, deserved to lose what was taken from them. Forey 1992, 16; Barber 1995, 42– 43. But Isaac of L'Etoile commented that the order “despoils licitly and murders religiously” (licenter expoliet et religiose trucidet). Kedar 1984, 105.
60 Éloge III,4 (quoting Ps 124.3 [125.3]).
law of God, to “cut off” those who derange the faithful, and to rid “the city of the Lord” of “all evildoers”, for “they are eager to take away the inestimable riches of Christian people deposited in Jerusalem, to pollute the holy places, and to take to themselves the heritage of the sanctuary of God. So draw both swords of the faithful and slit the skull of the enemies in order to cast down every proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God, that is, against the faith of the Christians. ” 61 For, “[d]o not I hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?” 62
As they confronted the pollution of the holy places by the infidel, the Templars—“keeping the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace”— marched to battle peacefully, like true Israelites (procedunt ad bella pacifici). 63 They also killed with peace in their hearts. 64 The Templar's life was a “veritable peaceful sacrifice. ” 65 In Bernard's praise, these monastic warriors appear as a “peace corps. ” 66 Characterizations of the De laude novae militiae as a peacemaker's manifesto aimed at limiting violence 67 should be taken seriously. But the reason is not Bernard's use of the just war doctrine to present Christian military activity in Palestine as a defensive war fought in the spirit of love. Rather, it is his rejoicing approval of the transportation of violence from Latin Christendom to the Holy Land that makes De laude novae militiae a peace-promoting pamphlet.
Bernard was clear that “in all this multitude of men streaming to Jerusalem, there are relatively few who have not been criminals and impious ones, robbers and sacrilegious men, homicides, perjurers, and adulterers. ” Their departure for the Holy Land brought double benefit and
61 Éloge III,5. Cf. Isa 26.2; Ps 67.31 (68.30); Ps 82.13 (83.12); Ps 100.8 (101.8); 2 Cor 10.5.
62 Éloge IV,8; Ps 138.21 (139.21).
63 Éloge V,9; IV,7 (Eph 4.3); IV,8.
64 Hugo peccator admonished the Templars to go about their ordained function in a tranquil frame of mind, like true servants of God: “If you feel thus, most dear brothers, and you serve your society in peace, the God of peace will be with you. ” One may get a clearer sense of what was meant by “serving one's own society in peace” from Bishop Anselm of Havelberg's description of the Templars: “they have sworn to defend the glorious tomb of the Saviour against the Saracens; peaceful at home, outside they are valiant fighters. ” Quoted in Barber 1995, 43, 50.
65 Éloge V,9.
66 Cf. Zerbi 1992, 283 (referring to Leclercq). Hugo peccator pictured the Templars as carrying arms for the defense of Christians “against the enemies of the faith and peace. ” Quoted in Barber 1995, 42.
67 Zerbi 1992, 279 (quoting Leclercq, Bernard de Clairvaux [Paris, 1989]).
was cause for double joy: “Their neighbors are happy because they see them leaving, and happy are those who see them coming to their aid. They are therefore useful in two ways: not only by protecting the latter but also in renouncing oppression of the former. ” Their voluntary departure freed western Christendom from its most cruel devastators, and the Holy Land received them with joy as its most faithful defenders. “What good fortune and what success”, exclaimed Bernard, empathizing with Christ, “to see how those whom He has long suffered as oppressors begin to transform themselves into defenders! An enemy He makes His knight, just as He made the former persecutor Saul the preacher Paul. ” 68
Bernard's words seem to have been echoed in the historian Gibbon's comment on the robber, the incendiary, and the homicide arising by thousands to redeem their souls by “repeating on the infidels the same deeds which they had exercised against their Christian brethren. ” 69 But in Bernard's eyes this repetition was not a repetition. The transportation of violence was rather a transsubstantiation: the criminal perpetrators of violence within Christendom turned holy as soon as they stepped foot in the Holy Land and directed their arms against “the enemies of the cross. ” What in the Latin West was “madness” 70 became, when transferred to Palestine, Christian spirituality.
Bernard's praise of warrior monks was complemented with a description of the sacred geography of the Holy Land in the second, longer part of De laude novae militiae. This spiritual exegesis of Palestine was built around Bernard's interpretation of the mystery of Christ's life and redemptive death. But why should Christocentric spirituality become the inspiration for and foundation of the justification of holy war? Why should those who were anxious to enter the celestial Jerusalem tread the physical land designated as holy? Bernard never visited Palestine. He opposed the desire of monks to leave their monastic iter Hierosolymitanum (the journey to the heavenly City they began when they took monastic vows) and depart for the earthly Jerusalem. 71 Yet he supported the crusade that some contemporaries had called iter Hierosolymitanum (the journey to Jerusalem). 72 This suggests that Bernard considered the
68 Éloge V,10.
69 See chap. 1 n. 310.
70 See n. 34.
71 Cf. Briefe nos. 65, 399; Cardini 1993a, 253.
72 See chap. 2 n. 29.
bodily journey to the terrestrial Jerusalem (as a detour to the celestial City) appropriate only for those who lacked the spiritual strength for monastic life. But such an answer prompts further questions. What did Bernard's spiritualized Holy Land have to do with geographical Palestine? Why did the spiritual quest require territorial conquest? And what about the Templars, the monastic soldiers? To my mind, the spiritual landscape was the raster on which medieval Christians composed for themselves a picture of a geographical space. Palestine existed for them as the places marked by Christ's life, death, and resurrection. As such, Palestine was deemed Christian. It was precisely the spiritual geography that demanded territorial conquest and rendered the “recovery of the Holy Land” an eminently religious enterprise. In the Templars the monastic and crusading “journeys to Jerusalem” overlapped in an ideal form. Their use of arms was a work of Christian piety par excellence. Thus the second part of the De laude novae militiae was essential to Bernard's praise of the new Christian knighthood. 73
The only place in De laude novae militiae where Bernard brings his spiritual Holy Land down to earth is where he says that “it is of no small advantage to see with corporeal eyes the place where the Lord's body was laid to rest. ” Even if empty now, for the Christian that place is nevertheless filled with joyful mysteries. 74 This passage sheds light on Bernard's sanctification of the crime of killing and his agitation for holy war. The gaze that needs to see what cannot be seen, cannot see what needs to be seen. As such, it is a gaze of annihilation. Bernard drew on a host of prophets to picture Palestine as desolate and forsaken since it was not in the hands of God's people. His vision of populating that land— et terra tua inhabitatur—contained the imperative that Christians (meaning Latin Christians) take possession of it. 75 The Holy Land was populated only when it was populated by the people of God. They alone counted, and not only for Bernard. In those times, “uncultivated and inhabitable places” seem to have generally connoted places “unconquered” by the Christians. 76 In Bernard's pamphlet, the non-Christians living in Palestine are not seen. They only become visible when it comes
73 The importance of this part of the De laude is pointed out in Barber 1995, 45 ff. Cf. Cardini 1993a, 252–53.
74 Éloge XI,29.
75 Ibid., III,6. Cf. Isa 62.1–5.
76 See Barber 1995, 27 (citing an Aragonese source from the Cartulaire général de l'Ordre du Temple).
to “driving them out”, “scattering them”, “cutting them off”, “slitting their skulls. ” These children of darkness step out of the shadow when Christian society is set against them. 77 The gaze that does not see them, and does not want to see them, renders them invisible. It demands their elimination. Populating the Holy Land was a license for depopulation.
Bernard's contemporaries were making the same point. In a letter to Hugh of Payns, Guigo, fifth prior of La Grande Chartreuse, suggested: “Let us first purge our souls of vices, then the lands from the barbarians. ” Ulger, bishop of Angers, commended the Templars who “fight against the enemies of God” and do not hesitate “to give their souls and to shed their blood, until they have destroyed and exterminated the impious pagans from the most holy places. ” And Pope Celestine II, in the bull Milites Templi, portrayed the Templars as carrying out the divine work of liberating the “eastern church from the filth of the pagans. ” 78
With the Templars, the act of “assuming the Cross was taken to its logical conclusion. ” 79 Consequently, when Bernard “girded himself with the sword of the Word of God” to arouse “the hearts of many for the expedition overseas” 80 in preparations for the Second Crusade, his preaching—“the most powerful Crusade propaganda of all time” 81 —was led by the logic he had developed earlier in his laudation of the Templars. The obvious difference was that when preaching the Crusade, Bernard called on the whole of Christendom to take the Cross under Papal leadership, whereas in the praise of the Templars he addressed a single military order. 82 The Christocentric spirituality found in the 'De laude novae militiae' inspired Bernard's practical crusading work. 83 He portrayed the Crusade as a jubilee, a great opportunity for salvation offered by a merciful God to his sinful people. 84 At the heart of the Crusade was the deliverance of the souls of western Christians. A grand picture of the heavenly Jerusalem that would receive those who took the Cross rose
77 And not, as Dérumaux 1953, 73, wrote: “Ainsi le païen ne sort de l'ombre que dans l'acte même où il se dresse contre la société chrétienne. ”
78 Quoted in Barber 1995, 49, 51, 58.
79 Blake 1970, 27.
80 Otto of Freising The Deeds I, xxxvii. Odo of Deuil De profectione I (p. 9) portrayed Bernard the preacher as “heaven's instrument” pouring forth “the dew of the divine word. ”
81 See On Consideration II, i,1–3; Riley-Smith 1992, 95.
82 See Delaruelle 1953, 53–54; Leclercq 1974; Cole 1991, 42 ff.; Riley-Smith 1992, 94 ff.; Zerbi 1992, 285 ff.; Mayer 1993, 93 ff.
83 Leclercq 1974, 482, 484; Cole 1991, 59.
84 Briefe no. 363,4 (p. 654).
above the earthly Jerusalem. 85 The crusade was a living communion with Christ. Taking the Cross meant re-experiencing Christ's passion in thought and deed. 86 But Bernard also presented the Crusade more profanely: as a good deal for the remission of sins. In an often-cited passage he addressed the would-be Crusader: “Or are you a shrewd businessman, a man quickly to see the profits of this world? If you are, I can offer you a splendid bargain. Do not miss the opportunity. Take the sign of the Cross. At once you will have indulgence for all the sins which you confess with a contrite heart. It does not cost you much to buy and if you wear it with humility you will find that it is the kingdom of heaven. ” 87 The Crusade was literally the “business of Christ”, negotium Christi. 88
A spiritualized vision of the Crusade unencumbered by political and military considerations made for poor strategy, 89 and Bernard was eventually forced to reflect on the failure of the Second Crusade. 90 But though his crusading activity came to an inglorious end, Bernard's thinking about the crusade's role in the cosmic struggle between good and evil was glorious indeed. 91 Like the “new knighthood”, the crusade was a miraculous device for turning criminals into God's servants: “What is it but a unique opportunity for salvation, such as only God could think of, that the Almighty treats murderers, robbers, adulterers, perjurers, and criminals of all kinds as worthy to be summoned to his service as if they were men of righteousness. ” 92 In response to Bernard's preaching, as Otto of Freising reports, “so great a throng of highwaymen and robbers (strange to say) came hurrying forward that no man in his senses could fail to comprehend that this so sudden and so unusual a transformation came from the hand of the Most High. ” 93
As the Second Crusade got underway, peace began to reign in Christendom. “And so, as countless peoples and nations … were moved to take the cross, suddenly almost the entire West became so still that not only the waging of war but even the carrying of arms in public was con-
85 Alphandéry 1954, 183; Katzir 1992, 9; Cardini 1993a, 256.
86 Delaruelle 1953, 60; Alphandéry 1954, 176 ff.; Leclercq 1974, 483; Riley-Smith 1992, 95. Cf. Roscher 1969, 268 ff. 87 Briefe no. 363,5 (p. 656); trans. in Mayer 1993, 97.
88 Briefe no. 363,1 (p. 648). Cf. Delaruelle 1953, 62.
89 Delaruelle 1953, 60; Tyerman 1988, 32; Cardini 1993a, 257.
90 See the De consideratione II. Quillet 1989, 257, has interpreted this work as an invitation of the Pope “à un itinéraire spirituel. ”
91 Alphandéry 1954, 172; Zerbi 1992, 281.
92 Briefe no. 363,4 (p. 654).
93 The Deeds I, xlii.
sidered wrong. ” 94 Bernard was, indeed, “announcing peace. ” 95 His concept of the crusade revolved around the idea of peace. 96 But the peace he preached was peace among Christians that could only be attained if Christians ceased fighting each other and turned their arms against their common enemy instead. “With the plowshare of preaching”, 97 Bernard exhorted his fellow Christian: “O mighty soldier, O man of war, you now have a cause for which you can fight without endangering your soul; a cause in which to win is glorious and for which to die is but gain. ” 98 Allowing the Land of the Lord, His “inheritance”, 99 to remain in Saracen hands amounted to giving to dogs that which was holy and casting pearls before swine. 100 The right of the Christians to the Holy Land could only be supported by the argument of might, even if not all might was right. Bernard opposed the anti-Jewish violence aroused by the preaching of the Second Crusade because God had reserved for Himself the settling of accounts with the Jews. 101 But when it came to the Saracens, he left no doubt that divine judgment was to be executed by God's people themselves.
The Second Crusade was pictured as “the whole human race” set in motion “against the Saracens. ” 102 Those seen as standing in its path were allotted the same fate as the Saracens. Perhaps fearing that the devil might incite some northern heathens to attack the Crusading army from the rear, 103 Bernard also preached a Crusade against the Slavic Wends in what today is eastern Germany. 104 He even took the liberty to begin preaching this Wendish Crusade without Papal authorization. 105 The Pope followed in Bernard's footsteps when he issued a bull that endorsed
100 Briefe no. 363,2 (p. 652).
101 Briefe no. 363,6 (p. 658). Cf. Otto of Freising The Deeds I, xxxix, xliii. See Cole 1991, 43 f.
102 Cole 1991, 54 (quoting Annales Herbipolenses).
103 Kahl 1992, 37; Zerbi 1992, 290 ff. Christiansen 1980, 55, speaks of a “global strategy against the army of darkness. ” 104 Cf. Constable 1953, 224–26; on the Wendish Crusade, see Christiansen 1980, chap. 2.
105 In his “apologia on the plight of Jerusalem”, however, Bernard maintained that he had preached the crusade at the Pope's command. On Consideration II, i,1. Cf. Otto of Freising The Deeds I, xxxvii; Brundage 1992, 29.
94 Ibid., I, xliv.
95 In the bitter moments after the failure of the Second Crusade, looking back at his preaching of that campaign, Bernard wrote: “We said, 'Peace,' and there is no peace. ” On Consideration II, i,1. Cf. Leclercq 1974, 483.
96 Cf. Cardini 1993a, 252, 256.
97 Otto of Freising The Deeds I, xl.
98 Briefe no. 363,5 (p. 656); trans. in Mayer 1993, 96–97.
99 Éloge III,6; Briefe no. 363,3 (p. 652).
this extension of holy war to “subjugate to the Christian religion” the “heathens of the North. ” 106 This was the first official Papal sanction of the use of force against heathens in order to convert them. 107 But conversion was only an option. The alternative was death. While preaching the Wendish Crusade, Bernard formulated a guideline that Christian arms were to be used to either exterminate or convert the infidel nations: ad delendas penitus aut certe convertendas nationes illas. 108 He exhorted the Crusaders to carry out their work with vigor. Forbidden to make any treaty with the Wends, the “servants of God” had to fight until such a time that “with God's help” either the rite of the Wends or the Wends themselves were annihilated: aut ritus ipse, aut natio deleatur. 109 In this way, Bernard's main goal—to extirpate from the face of the earth the enemies of the Christian name—would be achieved. 110
THE INFIDELS ARE UNREASONABLE AND THEREFORE
NOT HUMAN: PETER THE VENERABLE
In the middle of the twelfth century conversion began to figure prominently in crusade thinking. 111 In On Consideration, Bernard addressed the Pope as a “debtor to the wise and to the foolish” (Rom 1.14) and pressed him to “consider most vigilantly how those who are foolish may become wise, and how those who are wise may not become foolish, and how those who have lost wisdom may recover it. ” But because, in Bernard's opinion, “no foolishness is more foolish than lack of faith”, the Pope was “a debtor to the infidel, whether Jew, Greek, or Gentile. ” Therefore it was important for the Pope to do all he could “so that unbelievers may be converted to the faith, that converts may not turn away, that those who have turned away may return. ” Heretics and schismatics are not my main concern here. As to the Jews and Gentiles, Bernard argued that the Jews had their time (Rom 9.28), which excused the Pope from dealing with them. Thus, the “full number of the Gentiles must come in first. ” The Pope had to set to work: “Are we waiting for faith to fall
106 Divina dispensatione (Kahl 1992, app. B, 44); Constable 1953, 255.
107 Kahl 1992, 40.
108 Briefe no. 457 (p. 892); Kahl 1992, app. A, 42. For different interpretations of this formulation, see Kedar 1984, 70–71; Zerbi 1992, 289–93; Cardini 1993a, 258.
109 Briefe no. 457 (p. 892). Cf. Christiansen 1980, 51.
110 “[E]xtirpandos de terra christiani nominis inimicos. ” Briefe no. 457 (p. 890).
111 Burns 1971; Kedar 1984, 71.
upon them? To whom has belief come by chance? How shall they believe without preaching?” 112 But these afterthoughts on the failure of the Second Crusade aside, Bernard's preoccupation was the conversion of the Christian sinner: peccatoris et maligni … conversio. 113
It was Peter the Venerable, Abbot of Cluny, who seriously contemplated the conversion of Muslims. Peter is famous for having commissioned a translation of a collection of Arabic books—including the Qur'an—into Latin. 114 These translations have been seen as marking the birth of “Islamic”, or “Oriental”, studies. 115 Given the “abysmal state of knowledge about Islam” in the Latin West, Peter's efforts to make Islamic doctrine available to the Christian world appear as the labor of an enlightened man. He believed that the false doctrine would be more easily refuted if it were known to Christians. Against the background of the crusading West, Peter's emphasis on conversion of the Muslims makes him look tolerant and charitable—a man who preferred reason to violence. In comparison with most of his contemporaries, including his fellow prelates, he stands out as a man of peace. In fact, he has been singled out “as the most peaceful man of his age. ” 116
This idealized portrayal of Peter the Venerable, it seems to me, may be the product of pervasive assumptions about his times. Historiography on the twelfth century in general, and on Peter the Venerable in particular, seems characterized by more than the usual number of anachronisms inescapable while writing history. From the early twentieth century onward, historians have found in the twelfth century, as a period of great cultural revival, a wealth of material for deconstructing the image of the “dark Middle Ages” and for substantiating the thesis that the contrast between medieval and (early) modern culture was “not nearly so sharp as it seemed to the humanists and their modern followers. ” 117 These historians' politics of the “making of the Middle Ages” have rested on faith in progress, which in turn, relies on faith in knowledge. Peter the Venerable appears, from this perspective, a “worthy
112 On consideration III, i,2– 4.
113 Éloge V,10.
114 See Kritzeck 1964; d'Alverny 1965a, 599 ff.; Pavlovic 1992, 92 ff.; Mayer 1993, 230. On translators, see Gantar 1965; Metlitzki 1977, 30 ff. Setton 1992, 48, has called Ketton's translation of the Qur'an a “paraphrase. ”
115 Rousset de Pina 1952, 181; Kritzeck 1964, 15; Schwinges 1977, 106; Pavlovic 1992, 97.
116 Kritzeck 1964, 6; Schwinges 1977, 107; Morris 1991, 286; Mayer 1993, 230.
117 Haskins 1967, 6.
type. ” 118 Because he not only contributed to the advancement of learning but was also an exemplar of tolerance, the temptation to project back onto him the Enlightenment mentality is sometimes overwhelming. Though progressionism has in the meantime been discredited, it continues to color dominant views of Peter the Venerable in our own days. Peter at times stands for a “politically correct” Western attitude toward the Muslims. Such backward-looking benevolence relies, as a rule, on the achievements of progressionist historiography. One of the meeting points for historiographic progressionism and historicized “political correctness” is the minimizing of the role of the crusade in Western history. For the former, the Crusade had “in itself no decisive importance in intellectual history. ” 119 For the latter, the hostile attitude toward the Muslims, characteristic of the Crusade, began to change for the better as early as the twelfth century, as exemplified in particular by Peter the Venerable.
Christian attitudes toward the Muslims, as benevolent historians maintain, became more favorable, objective, and rational—even “tolerant”—thanks to a better knowledge of Islam in the twelfth-century Latin West. 120 Peter the Venerable is regarded as a key agent of that change, and his work as its expression. His inquiry into Islamic doctrine appears as “disinterested curiosity. ” He is believed to have provided “authentic information about Islam” to satisfy “both the growing European intellectual interest in the sciences cultivated by the Muslims and popular curiosity about Islam. ” 121 But the idea of “popular curiosity about Islam” seems to rest on an admirable belief in the “people” rather than on historical evidence. Western Christians in Peter the Venerable's times were still extremely ignorant about peoples living outside their closed, though expanding, world. 122 They displayed a lack of curiosity about and indifference to the nearby “barbarians”, and those living further away existed for them only in fables and legends. 123 Some believed that the Near Eastern peoples were cannibals. 124 The more general view was that they were not only infidels but “heathen devils about whom no
118 Ibid., 43. On Haskin's progressivism, see Spiegel 1997, 63 f.
119 Haskins 1967, 9.
120 Cf. Rousset de Pina 1952, 174 ff.; Kritzeck 1964; Southern 1962, 36; Watt 1972, 60 ff., 73 f.; Rodinson 1991, 13 f.
121 Rodinson 1991, 13–14.
122 On the crusading chroniclers' view of the Muslim peoples, see Loutchitskaja 1996.
123 Hodgen 1964, 33–35, 51, 67.
124 In fact, it was the “Tafurs”—bands of the poor accompanying the First Crusade—who fed on the roasted corpses of their Muslim enemies. Cohn 1993, 65.
invention was too far-fetched to be believed. ” As the “followers of Mohamet”, they were “crudely and systematically libeled. ” 125
“Intellectual interest in the sciences cultivated by the Muslims” is also to be taken with a grain of salt. The interest in science, it seems, was dissociated from interest in Islam and the Muslims. Latin Christians were interested not so much in “Arabian learning” (or “Oriental lore”), but rather in gaining access to the Greek sciences and philosophy that had been preserved (and often developed) by the Arabs. That corpus of knowledge that has for centuries now been called “Western intellectual tradition” was available only via the Arabic language. Arabic (along with Syriac, Hebrew, and other oriental languages through which much of the Greek learning had passed into Arabic) was “the chief vehicle for the transmission of Greek science and philosophy to Latin Europe. ” 126 But mastering the medium—and a “refracting medium” at that 127 —was, for Latin Christians, no more than the faux frais of the production of knowledge. In 1370, after the transmission of Greek knowledge to the West had been largely accomplished, Petrarch could freely vent to his aversion to Arab science: “I will not be persuaded that any good can come from Arabia. ” 128 But even “at the very time when the superiority of Arabian learning was taken for granted” and the Arabum studia were practiced in the Latin West, “the crude caricature of the medieval Saracen flourished in the popular imagination. ” 129
Other factors—the Levantine trade, pilgrims, freed captives, the Crusades, the new courtly culture—are commonly regarded as contributing to the change in Christian attitudes toward the Muslims. But a closer look casts doubt on these assumptions also. Christian commercial activity in the eastern Mediterranean repeatedly clashed with crusading enterprises. The uninhibited pursuit of financial gains on the part of Christians provoked accusations and papal legislative regulations that banned trade with the enemies of Christendom. 130 But traders' practical knowledge and the information they gathered through trade did not seriously affect, or contradict, the outlook that engendered the prolonged
125 Hodgen 1964, 86, 88.
126 Haskins 1967, 281. For the “Graeco-Arabic translation movement”, see Gutas 1998.
127 Haskins 1967, 299. Roger Bacon maintained that Jews and Arabs—the enemies of Christians—had mutilated Greek manuscripts. Opus tertium VIII (p. 472).
128 Epp. seniles XII,2 (Cassirer, Kristeller, and Randall 1948, 142).
129 Metlitzki 1977, 167.
130 See, e.g., the Fourth Lateran Council's decree Expeditio pro recuperanda Terra Sancta. Hefele 1912–13, 5.2: 1394.
struggle against the Saracens. It would be a mistake to suppose that the “exchange of goods implied the exchange of culture. ” 131 Pilgrims, often pictured as agents of cultural exchange, “expressed little or no curiosity about their fellows, little interest in alien ways, little reaction to cultural diversities. ” 132 Moreover, after the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem had fallen to its doom at the close of the twelfth century, several Popes forbade not only trade but also pilgrimages beyond Cyprus, to “prevent the Saracens from enriching themselves by the tax which they had instituted for Christians and other non-Muslims. ” 133 Christians who had lived in Muslim captivity, moreover, did not leave behind (at least not before the mid-thirteenth century) any written material testifying to intellectual acquaintance with the Muslim world. 134 The Crusades and the Latin Christian dominions founded by the crusaders were not transmitters of medieval Muslim knowledge to the West, as used to be believed. Crusading warfare did little to further understanding of the Muslim world and certainly did not contribute to a more favorable Christian attitude toward Muslims. 135 The Frankish colonies' intellectual activity, on the other hand, was “almost inexistent. ” 136 The Holy Land was “a battle front, not the centre of cultural borrowing. ” 137 Finally, reception of the crusade by the new courtly culture generated exoticism. 138 The creation of the “noble heathen” by protagonists of this culture, 139 or even courtly dames wearing Saracen robes, 140 may have “humanized” the image of the Saracen, 141 but whether such inventions and new conventions amounted to a new attitude toward Muslims remains doubtful. 142
131 See Olschki 1943, 3; Hodgen 1964, 33, 51, 105. Of different opinion was Haskins 1967, 64 (that “ever since the Greek and Phoenician traders it has been impossible to separate the interchange of wares from the interchange of knowledge and ideas”).
132 Hodgen 1964, 86. Such an attitude goes back to the sixth to eighth centuries. See Rotter 1986, chap. 1. And it was not until the later seventeenth century that narratives of Western travelers to the Levant became “precise and reliable. ” Chew 1965, 543.
133 Cardini 1974, 229; Metlitzki 1977, 134.
134 Hiestand 1986, 201.
135 Cf. Gilchrist 1993, 81; Kedar 1996, 355; Loutchitskaja 1996, 107.
136 Sivan 1985, 29–30.
137 Le Goff 1990, 66.
138 “Les imaginations se sont enchantées de ces pays fabuleux et les vieilles chansons de geste se sont enrichies de nouveaux décors et d'épisodes dont la coleur locale en faits des Orientales. ” Delaruelle 1953, 65.
139 Mayer 1993, 230.
140 Cf. Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun The Romance of the Rose 1155 (p. 46), where the allegorical figure of Generosity wore “a completely new robe of Saracen purple. ”
141 Burns 1971, 1386; Schwinges 1977, 13 f., 105 ff.; 142 ff.; Kedar 1984, 134.
142 “It would be too much to speak of tolerance in this context but there was certainly a genuine humanity springing from a courtly culture. ” Mayer 1993, 230.
The main misconception about the changing Christian attitude toward the Muslims is that knowledge played a role—even a central role —in the assumed change. Actually, knowledge was not of decisive importance. The dominant value of that age was life in harmony with Christian belief. In pursuit of the good Christian life the master faculty was will rather than intellect. In such a worldview, if “virtue” was frustrated, it was sin, not ignorance, that stood in the way. And for sin there was only divine remedy. 143 Knowledge was subordinated to faith and good only insofar as it served faith and helped effect what God willed. There are no grounds for assuming that, in such a context, new information would change belief. Ahostile attitude toward Muslims had been integrated into Christian belief and become almost an article of faith. Given the centrality of the Muslim “enemy” to the constitution of the Christian world of that age, there was little possibility of seeing the Muslim world in any “objective” way. Since the hostile image of the Muslim world was not based on knowledge about the Muslims, it was unaffected by increases in knowledge.
Let me now turn to Peter the Venerable himself and his efforts to provide information about Islam. Peter was no exception among his contemporaries concerning the lack of curiosity about the Muslim world. He showed interest only in those aspects of Muslim culture that he considered of importance for his apology of Christianity. After he had read the translations he had commissioned, he admitted that he was a stranger to the Muslims' customs and life. He gave no impression that he perceived that ignorance as a disadvantage. He dwelt on what Western imagination painted as Muslim sexual licentiousness, 144 for that was a handy argument against Islam. But since he wanted to refute Muslim religious doctrine, he needed to know something about that which he wished to refute. With some knowledge at hand, his aim could be achieved more effectively. Indeed, because Peter could read the translations he paid for, his views of Islam were more accurate than those commonly held in western Christendom. 145 Ignorance of Islam was such that “any even moderately informed statement of fact” was a gain. 146 But advanced as Peter's views of Islam may have been, Islam remained for him the hostile religion.
143 See Vereker 1964, 59, 65.
144 See, on this topic, Daniel 1993, 164 ff., 351–53.
145 Cf. d'Alverny 1965a, 598 ff.; Daniel 1993.
146 Kritzeck 1964, 150.
Often cited as a departure from Latin Christian hostility toward Islam are Peter the Venerable's introductory words to book I of his Liber contra sectam sive haeresim Saracenorum, a polemical treatise addressed to a Muslim reader. “A certain Peter, by nationality a Frenchman, by faith a Christian, by profession an abbot of those who are called monks, to the Arabs, the sons of Ishmael, who observe the law of that one who is called Mahumeth. It seems strange, and perhaps it really is, that I, a man so very distant from you in place, speaking a different language, having a state of life separate from yours, a stranger to your customs and life, write from the far parts of the West to men who inhabit the lands of the East and South, and that I attack, by my utterance, those whom I have never seen, whom I shall perhaps never see. But I do not attack you, as some of us often do, by arms, but by words; not by force, but by reason; not in hatred, but in love. ” 147 Both Christian faith and human reason, Peter explained, commanded his love for the Muslims. Obedient to divine instruction and to human nature endowed with reason that is “known to love what is like himself”, he loved them, and “loving, I write to you; writing, I invite you to salvation. ” 148
What stood in the way of salvation for the Muslims was that they were Muslims. The “obstinacy of superstition” (that is, their religion), Peter argued, led the Muslims to refuse to hear anything against their laws and customs. But such refusal was contrary to rational human nature, which does not want “to be deceived in temporal things”, or to “take certain things for uncertain or uncertain things for certain. ” 149 And this requirement cast doubt on Muhammad: If he had been confident about the truth of his law, why did he prohibit his followers from debating it? And if he had not that confidence, why did he write things his followers could not defend? 150 The rational disputation between Christians and Muslims, of which Peter the Venerable's is a prime example, set out from the beginning to prove that Islam was not reasonable. 151 Because God endowed men with reason, a faith that could not stand the test of reason could not be the true faith. And because they upheld beliefs they could not reasonably defend, Muslims were unreasonable. For Peter the Venerable and other Christian thinkers of that period, to be
147 Liber contra sectam, 231. Where possible, I cite Kritzeck's translations from the study preceding his edition of Peter's writings. Kritzeck 1964
148 Liber contra sectam, 232.
149 Ibid., 234–35.
150 Ibid., 240. Cf. Daniel 1993, 146 f.
151 For Peter the Venerable's argument, see Kritzeck 1964, 155 ff.; Daniel 1993.
sure, reason did not represent “anything secular in the modern atheistic sense of the word. ” Reason only “opened their eyes to an alternative route to the divine than the tried and tested route of faith. ” Properly used, reason could only serve faith. 152 And this reason, which led—and had to lead—the Christian to where faith had already taken him, should also bring the infidel (who here appears as insipiens, the fool) 153 to the true faith. That is, if he wanted to be reasonable.
Peter accused the Muslims of resorting to violence because they did not have reason on their side: Muhammad relied not on reason but on arms, and instead of giving an answer to those who asked him questions, he turned furiosorum more to stones, sticks, and swords. 154 True to his law, Muslims had been stifling discussion with stones, swords, and other murderous instruments ever since. 155 Considering the importance of the crusade—armed Christian offensive against the Muslims—in Peter's own time, this was a curious accusation indeed. But Peter was unperturbed. He proudly announced to his expected Muslim audience that he had chosen to attack those who observe the law of “Mahumeth” with words, not arms. As a polemical statement, his declared reliance on reason alone calls for admiration. But the idea of Christian polemics against Islam as put forward by Peter the Venerable—and by others who came later—is problematic at the core.
Peter's dialogue between Christians and Muslims was illusionary, marked by a “certain unreality. ” 156 That he wrote in Latin and did not arrange for his refutation of Islam to be translated in hope of reaching Muslim readers is telling but circumstantial. More important is that, like most medieval polemicists, he failed to conceive of the possibility that Muslims might be unimpressed by his arguments. Typical of Christian anti-Islamic—as well as anti-Jewish—polemics, Peter was talking to a Muslim of his own imagination who never raised substantial objections to what was asserted against him and his religion. “The mediaeval Latins seem always to be defending a public dissertation before favourable judges, judges whose approval has been assured in advance. It is a nightmare reversed: it is the opponent who cannot answer, except in words set in his mouth. ” 157 In this rational disputation, the opponent
152 Abulafia 1995, 6, 25, 46.
153 Cf. ibid., 41.
154 Liber contra sectam, 241.
155 Ibid., 235.
156 Daniel 1993, 140.
157 Ibid., 287.
was absent. But it is hard to believe that Peter the Venerable actually intended to reach a Muslim audience; it seems much more likely that he was, in fact, convincing the convinced. As I argue, his anti-Islamic polemics were addressed to his fellow Christians.
It is worth noting that Peter's idea of using word instead of sword against the Muslims was not completely free of violence. His words were used as swords and his mental picture of a peaceful approach to the Muslims was rather militant. Peter the Venerable had wished that Islamic doctrine be refuted, and holy Christianity defended, “with zeal. ” He had been waiting “a long time” for that to happen, but no one had opened his mouth. Thus Peter decided to speak out himself. 158 Peter of Poitiers, his notary, lauded the abbot as the only man in his times who “slaughters by the sword of the divine Word the three greatest enemies of holy Christianity”: the Jews, heretics, and Saracens. 159 These words of praise reflected Peter the Venerable's idea of interconfessional dialogue. In a letter announcing the translations from Arabic, Peter urged Bernard of Clairvaux to write against the Muslim doctrine: “to combat, destroy, and trample underfoot by every study, through word and writing, 'all knowledge that exalts itself against the height of God.'” 160 The words that were the alternative to arms in Peter's address to the fictional Muslim reader of the Liber contra sectam 161 figured—when Peter wrote to Bernard—as “Christian armory” and “weapons. ” 162 Peter's armarium—his “library” of books translated from Arabic—was indeed an armamentarium.
What was to be attacked with those weapons apparently deserved destruction. When Peter spoke directly to the Christians—freed from the laudable, and rare, restraint from invective shown in the Liber contra sectam—he passed harsh judgment on Islam. If his writing had greater doctrinal accuracy than most, and if he was the first Christian polemicist to cite Qur'anic (and Talmudic) sources, 163 he departed from the common Latin opinion on Muslim religion in neither tone nor intention. His attitude toward the Muslims in works that were not addressed to
158 Summa totius haeresis, 211.
159 Epistola … ad domnvm Petrvm abbatem. Kritzeck 1964, 216. On Peter the Venerable's anti-Jewish polemics, see Abulafia 1995, 87– 88, 116, 128.
160 Epistola ad Bernardum, 213. Kritzeck 1964, 43, pointed out the inversion of “altitudo” and “scientia” in the citation of 2 Cor 10.5.
161 See n. 147.
162 Epistola ad Bernardum, 213. But see Liber contra sectam, Prologus, 230.
163 Kritzeck 1964, 25.
them was “surprisingly conventional. ” 164 Like his less peace-minded contemporaries, Peter the Venerable subscribed to the Latin Christian ceterum censeo. Just as Roman censor Cato had repeatedly ended his speeches with the call that Carthage had to be destroyed (Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam), orators of the Christian republic, whatever else they may have said, ended up demanding the destruction of the Muslims. From Peter's point of view, such a demand was understandable enough. If (to cite a few characterizations) Islam was “the unholy sectarian doctrine”, a plague, a diabolical plan, maddest absurdities; if the Qur'an was a “diabolical scripture”, woven together in “barbarous fashion” by Muhammad; if Muhammad was “the nefarious man”, a beastly man, possessed by the devil, a man through whom Satan spoke, a liar who poisoned “with a deadly poison” the Arab people who had not known God; 165 then Muslim religion could indeed not be tolerated.
Here and there, Peter described the Muslim people as victims of a diabolical scheme executed through their false prophet. The “very wretched and wicked Mahumet has taught them who, by denying all the mysteries of the Christian religion [pietatis] whereby particularly men are saved, has condemned almost a third of the human race by some unknown judgement of God and by unheard-of, raving-mad tales, to the devil and eternal death. ” 166 This humanist tenderheartedness was echoed by Robert of Ketton, the translator of the Qur'an, for whom Islam was “a foul and poisonous thing” that was beneficial and appropriate only to “touch rather than to hold onto. ” But Robert distanced himself from those Christian priests who were so overcome with hatred that they declared that the conversion of the Muslims was not even desirable. He deplored that the Muslims, God's “beautiful portion of the human race”, be left “held fast in the chains of darkness. ” 167
The humanists' sympathies found their limits, however, when confronted with something understood as manifestly inhuman, such as an “obstinate” refusal to follow reason, the faculty that made men human. For the reasoning Christian, to “follow reason” meant to accept Christianity. Failing to accept the Christian disputant's reasons for the
164 Berry 1956, 146.
165 Quotes from Summa totius haeresis, Epistola ad Bernardum, Liber contra sectam.
166 Summa totius haeresis, 205; cf. 206–7. Later in the same text, Peter estimated that the race that Muhammad plunged along with himself into everlasting flames constituted “almost one half of the world. ” Ibid., 210.
167 Dedicatory letter to Ketton's translation of the Fabulae Saracenorum; quoted in Kritzeck 1964, 63– 64.
truthfulness of Christianity never meant that those reasons might be unconvincing. The fault always lay with the unbeliever. In light of the arguments presented to him, he could believe if he wished to—if he were rational. 168 His failing to be convinced was his failing as a rational being and therefore as a human being. Christianized reason was an exclusionary mechanism: those unwilling to accept Christian doctrine were seen as rejecting reason and thus denying their own humanity. As such, “twelfth-century perceptions of what was reasonable and what was not had a lasting influence on European perceptions of what it was to be properly human. ” 169
Peter the Venerable's final judgment on the Muslims abandoned his humanitarian representation of them as victims of Muhammad's trickery. Because they did not obey the dictates of reason and refused to embrace the true, Christian religion, they were not only “the barbaric people” but also the “most wicked race. ” 170 They had to be fought, and fighting these “enemies of Christ's cross” was identical with waging war against the devil, the prince of this world. 171 But why they should be fought with “words” as well is not so obvious.
For Peter, Islam was the summation of Christian heresies. In a letter to Bernard of Clairvaux, the Cluniac abbot called the Muslim doctrine the “foremost error of errors”, the “dregs of all the heresies into which all the remnants of the diabolical doctrine have flown together, which came into existence since the very coming of the Saviour. ” 172 This view was shared by at least one of the translators he hired. For Robert of Ketton, Islam was “the greatest heresy of all. ” 173 Peter spoke also of the spread of Islam. He described how “the Mohammedan fury” first corrupted almost all of Asia, then by violent invasion— non miti ratione, sed uiolenta incursione—subjugated Egypt, Libya, and “all of Africa”, and finally broke into Spain, thus not leaving even Europe wholly to Christians. 174 But the expansion of Muslim temporal power was not Peter the Venerable's main concern. It was Islam as heresy that he saw as a
168 Cf. Abulafia 1995, 86.
169 Ibid., 6; cf. 123, 133.
170 Liber contra sectam, 229; Summa totius haeresis, 210.
171 Letters no. 172. Cf. Dérumaux 1953, 73; Kritzeck 1964, 21.
172 Epistola ad Bernardum, 213.
173 Quoted in Kritzeck 1964, 64. These translators were not enthusiastic about sacrificing their scientific pursuits for Peter the Venerable's polemicist project and were “fanatical only on request. ” But in their fanaticism on request, they “out-Petered Peter in professing the contempt for Islam and its ways. ” Kritzeck 1964, 139 f.; Metlitzki 1977, 31–32. 174 Liber contra sectam, 226. But in his anti-Jewish
Adversus Iudeorum inveteratam duritiem, Peter wrote that the Christians were spread all over the world: “there is not any part, or a significant part, of the land, not of the remotest island of the Mediterranean or the ocean itself”, where there were no Christians. Quoted in Abulafia 1995, 128.
threat to Christianity and consequently wanted to attack with the sword of the Spirit: “What heresy yet, O reader, has so injured the Church of God? Which error yet has so vexed the Christian republic? What has broken down its boundaries by so much? What has increased the number of the damned by such a mass of lost ones?” 175
Peter was shocked by the absence of anti-Islamic polemics. Will the Christian tongue, he asked rhetorically, “which passed by no (or even little) heresy intact, being sluggish, greatly overlook this greatest error of all errors?” 176 It was imperative for the faithful to fight each and every heresy: to refute every “error”, to seize upon (and if possible, correct) “everything wicked and against the mind [intellectus] of faith. ” 177 But Peter observed among his fellow Christians only ignorance and lack of zeal: “Because the Latin-speaking peoples, and most particularly those of recent times, losing their ancient zeal, … have not known the various languages of the former wonderful Apostles, but only their own language into which they were born, in that condition they could not know what such an error [Islam] was or, consequently, put up any resistance to it”, he wrote, referring to Psalms 38.4 (39.3), and continued: “I was indignant that the Latins did not know the cause of such perdition and, by that ignorance, could not be moved to put up any resistance; for there was no one who replied [to Islam] because there was simply no one who knew [about it]. ” 178
Peter wanted to know and wanted his fellow Christians to know. But was it really the hope of “correcting” the Muslims that motivated him to gather information about Islam? He does not seem to have believed that newly acquired knowledge would help convert Muslims. He voiced his doubts when he set about to answer imagined objections to his enterprise. A refutation in Latin of the Muslims' “deplorable error” appeared indeed a waste of time. Even if it were “put into Arabic letters”, into that “strange language”, it could at best help only “some” of the Muslims whom God might wish to save. Peter certainly believed in the superiority of the Christian religion, but his thoughts on the possibility of converting the Muslims were not triumphalistic. His apologia pro domo sua essentially explained that a compelling reason for his polemics
175 Liber contra sectam, 225.
176 Ibid., 226.
177 Ibid., 225.
178 Ibid., 228–29.
against Islam was to serve Christians. His refutation of the Islamic doctrine, he said, might “counteract the secret thoughts of some of us, by which they may be led into scandal, who think that there is some piety among those impious and believe that there is some truth among the servants of falsehood. ” 179 Robert of Ketton agreed. To his mind, it was “manifestly a pernicious thing that the flower of that perverse sectarian doctrine, covering up a scorpion, fails to draw the attention of, and destroys by trickery, ministers of the law of the Christian faith, to whom alone the law can be afforded truly and absolutely—which, alas, we have very often seen already. ” 180
This explanation of—if not justification for—the need to study Islam rings the most true. The long-range purpose of Peter's Liber contra sectam seems indeed to have been to strengthen Christian resistance to Moslem doctrine rather than to organize a missionary program. 181 But in view of the historical reality, the need to defend Christians against Muslim doctrine was not very pressing indeed. If we assume for a moment that Islam was a heresy—although Peter the Venerable himself sometimes wavered about whether the Muslims were heretics or pagans 182 — it was a heresy that had “never made the slightest appeal in Europe. ” 183 In Peter's own time, conversions in areas where Christendom bordered on Muslim dominions were never numerous enough to inspire a sense of danger to the orthodoxy of Latin Christianity. But still one cannot simply dismiss Peter's feeling that a refutation of Islam might be of help in looking after and providing for “the weak ones in the Church [infirmis ecclesiae], who are inclined to be tempted to evil. ” 184
In Peter the Venerable's musings about counteracting secret heretical inclinations of Christians, and in Robert of Ketton's anxiety that Islam might seduce “ministers of the law of the Christian faith”, the Christian dialogue with the Muslims is laid bare as a Christian monologue. The utopia of converting the Muslims turns out to be the dystopia of preventing Christians from falling into heresy. On the one hand, the idea of defeating Islam by rational argument can be seen as an expression of Latin Christians' new confidence in reason—Christianized reason—
179 Ibid., 230.
180 Quoted in Kritzeck 1964, 64.
181 Berry 1956, 145.
182 Liber contra sectam, 227.
183 Southern 1962, 39.
184 Epistola ad Bernardum, 213–14. Cf. Southern 1962, 39.
that followed in the footsteps of the successful First Crusade. On the other hand, the Muslim adversary of the anti-Islamic polemics was so fictitious that we can hardly avoid guessing that the real addressee of Christian polemicists was the insecure Christian self. The potential enemy was not so much without as within. The Muslim was used—or abused—so that the Christian could talk to himself.
When it came to dealing with real Muslims—as opposed to the imaginary Muslim of his internal dialogue—Peter the Venerable approved of the use of the material sword. His declaration that he had chosen to fight the sons of Ishmael with words and not with arms should not be understood as a dissociation from the crusaders. His study of Islam neither estranged him from the crusade nor caused him to give “mere lip service to it. ” To the contrary, throughout his life he was “consistently sympathetic to the crusade. ” 185 He wished the Saracens destroyed. He praised Christian princes devoted to the crusade, like King Sigurd of Norway and Roger of Sicily, through whose valor the Church of God had gained a lot from “the lands of the enemies of God, that is, of the Saracens. ” He urged Roger to make peace with Conrad III of Germany so he could make war on the Greeks (to punish them for the “most wicked, unheard of and lamentable treachery done … to our pilgrims”, that is, the participants of the Second Crusade) and to extend the Church of God by fighting the Saracens. 186 He expressed his respect for the Templars— “virtuous monks, active soldiers”—lauding their incessant and assiduous fight against the Saracen “infernal armies. ” 187 He longed to accompany the crusading “army of the Eternal King” and join the king of Jerusalem, sword in hand. Since the monastic vow prevented him from doing that, his aid to the crusader king was limited to prayer and advice. He wished that the king “may rule with a rod of iron the enemies of the Cross of Christ and of the Christian name, the Turks, … and the Saracens, the Persians and the Arabs, and whatever barbarians there are who oppose themselves to their own salvation, and … destroy them with a powerful right hand, like a vessel of clay. ” 188
Besides corresponding and praying, Peter the Venerable participated in the preparations for the Second Crusade, and after its disastrous end,
185 Berry 1956, 141, 145; Siberry 1983, 104.
186 Peter to King Sigurd of Norway, Letters no. 44 (p. 141); to Roger of Sicily, Letters no. 162 (pp. 394–95). Cf. Constable 1953, 236; Berry 1956, 156.
187 Letters no. 172 (p. 408).
188 Letters no. 82 (p. 219). Cf. Letters no. 83. See Berry 1956, 148; Kedar 1984, 100.
supported the efforts to launch a new expedition. 189 The crusade, quite simply, was the order of the day. “Whom would it not move”, the Cluniac abbot wrote to Bernard of Clairvaux, “if by chance that holy land, snatched forth from the yoke of the wicked by the exertions of our fathers, by the shedding of so much Christian blood not long ago, should be subdued again to the wicked and blasphemous?” 190 While preaching the cross he urged that the Holy Sepulchre be cleansed of the defilements of the infidel with pious swords. 191 There was nothing greater than the crusade: the crusade was omnium maxima. “For isn't it the greatest of all matters to provide and to see that the Holy Land should not be given to dogs? lest the places where stood the feet of Him Who brought salvation into the midst of the earth should again be trampled by the feet of the wicked? lest royal Jerusalem, consecrated by the prophets, the apostles, the very Saviour of all, lest Antioch, that noble metropolis of all Syria, should be subjected again to blasphemous and wicked men?” 192
For Peter the Venerable—as for Bernard of Clairvaux—the crusade was something sublime and spiritual. And Peter's crusading spirituality, like Bernard's, was centered on the Holy Sepulchre. 193 Peter's call for the cleansing of the holy places was an expression of this spirituality. In his view, joining the “army of the living God” 194 offered to Christians an excellent opportunity for spiritual purification: the cleansing of the Holy Land was a cleansing away of their sins. The crusade was “above all a gift from God, an opportunity for men to restore something of the image of God within them. ” 195 It was a gift, in particular, for those who had committed crimes against their fellow Christians: “so salutary a journey for penitent sinners, which, as is fitting to believe, now for fifty years has saved innumerable thousands of pilgrims from Hell and restored them to Heaven. ” 196
Peter the Venerable does not seem to have given much thought to the
189 See Berry 1956, 144, 148; Kritzeck 1964, 21–23; Kedar 1984, 100; Cole 1991, 49 ff.; Mayer 1993, 104; Constable 1997, 69 f.
190 Letters no. 164 (p. 397); trans. in Berry 1956, 160.
191 Sermo … de laude Domini sepulchri, 247. Cf. chap. 3 n. 284.
192 Peter to Suger of St. Denis, Letters no. 166 (pp. 399– 400); trans. in Berry 1956, 160. Suger was among the most active in efforts to organize a new crusade after the failure of the second. Berry 1956, 159; Constable 1997.
193 See Sermo … de laude Domini sepulchri; Berry 1956, 153–54. Cf. Peter to Suger of St. Denis, Letters no. 166 (p. 400): “sepulcrum Domini, qoud hactenus, juxta prophetam, gloriosum toto in orbe fuerat [Isa 11]. ”
194 Peter to Roger of Sicily, Letters no. 162 (p. 395).
195 Cole 1991, 59.
196 Peter to Bernard of Clairvaux, Letters no. 164 (p. 397).
material effects of this spiritual war. On one occasion he warned that “God does not will cold-blooded murder or outright slaughter. ” But that was in reference to the persecution of Jews, not to the crusade. 197 Peter's views, like Bernard's, conformed with Pope Eugenius's instructions to the crusaders (as recorded by Odo of Deuil): “to visit the Holy Sepulchre and to wipe out our sins with the blood or the conversion of the infidels. ” 198 Whatever one may think of Peter's study of Islam, he was a conventional crusading propagandist.
But his study had great potential. Though Peter did not develop the juridical implications of his Muslim heresy thesis, his description of Muslims as heretics placed them under Christian jurisdiction and provided legitimation for war against them. His thoughts about conversion of the Muslims were a mixture of triumphalism and resignation. They were sidetracked because the prospects of anti-Islamic polemics winning over a substantial portion of the Muslims appeared so dim to Peter. But had they been brought to their logical conclusion and put into practice, they would have provided the crusade with a goal it lacked, remedying its main deficiency. 199 The military struggle for material annihilation of the “enemies of the Cross” would have been complemented with a spiritual fight against their false religion. The result would have been a perfect crusade, a total war, conquering not only the earthly but also the otherworldly possessions of Muslims, subjugating their souls as well as their bodies.
ORDEAL BY FIRE: ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI
Peter the Venerable's views—the first systematic refutation of Islamic doctrine in Latin—had only a slight direct influence on anti-Islamic polemics that followed. 200 The Liber contra sectam sive haeresim Saracenorum and Summa totius haeresis Saracenorum were probably drawn upon by Aquinas in his Summa contra gentiles, 201 and by Nicholas of Cusa even later. 202 But generally speaking, Peter's early study of Islam “yielded little more than a closet literature for parochial Christian intellectuals. ” 203 Nevertheless, this early anti-Islamic polemics gives us an
197 Quoted in Kritzeck 1964, 21.
198 Odo of Deuil De profectione IV (p. 70).
199 See Kritzeck 1964, 23, 42 ff.
200 Ibid., 195, 198. Cf. Daniel 1993, 260.
201 Pavlovic 1992, 119 ff. But see Hagemann 1988, 471.
202 Setton 1992, 49.
203 Burns 1971, 1387.
insight into the articulation of the logic supporting totalized struggle against Islam. Once the polemicists' idea of conversion materialized in missionary activity, the crusade and the mission—often espoused by one and the same person—came to complement one another. The “praise of peace” 204 by Peter the Venerable and by missionaries later was more than compatible with crusading warfare. The opposition between the two is artificial, and the work of missionaries could be supplemented smoothly by the labor of armies. 205
The view that the rise to prominence of the mission corresponded to the decline in crusading enthusiasm is now seen as one of the major errors of earlier historians of the late Middle Ages. 206 St. Francis of Assisi fit well into this erroneous view of history. The life of the saint long ago became legend. Because Francis's writings are scanty, his personality gained the more in fascination. He was a peacemaker in the manner of the Gospel of Matthew, with which he identified himself. “ Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God(Mt 5.9). They are truly peacemakers who are able to preserve their peace of mind and heart for love of our Lord Jesus Christ, despite all that they suffer in this world”, wrote Francis. 207 He has been described as a “practitioner of peace” in whom the idea of peace appeared in its most touching and captivating form. 208 The Franciscan order has been represented as the “greatest peace action ever undertaken”, and what the Franciscans, his followers, strove for as “the most elevated peace ideal ever proclaimed. ” 209 In fact, St. Francis's life and work are typical of the symbiosis of crusade and mission and, as such, reveal the intricacies of Christian peacemaking.
St. Francis's attitude toward the crusade is not very clear. He has been called a “pacific crusader” 210 —not a very meaningful description once we realize that the crusaders were all warriors of peace and the crusade was an opus pacis. 211 His enrollment as a young man in Innocent III's
204 Kritzeck 1964, 22.
205 Siberry 1983; Paciocco 1992, 715; Daniel 1993, 140.
206 Housley 1992, 381.
207 The Admonitions 15 (p. 83). (Francis's texts as well as some other source material I cite are quoted from St. Francis of Assisi: Writings and Early Biographies, hereafter referred to as WEB.)
208 Constantinescu-Bagdat 1924, 100–101.
209 H. Felder, Die Ideale des hl. Franziskus von Assisi (Paderborn, 1923); quoted in Berg 1985, 181.
210 Basetti-Sani 1959, 36.
211 Cardini 1974, 221.
anti-imperial “crusade” against Markward of Anweiler 212 is of marginal importance for understanding Francis's relation to the crusade. The important thing is that none of the sources recording the saint's life attribute to Francis a single remark that may be interpreted as critical of the crusade, and nothing of the kind can be found in his own writings. 213 To the contrary, there are grounds for arguing that St. Francis embraced the knightly ideal of the crusading age and never dissociated himself from the Crusades. 214 St. Bonaventure, the seventh minister-general of the Franciscans, called him “the soldier of Christ”, as did Marino Sanudo, an early-fourteenth-century crusade propagandist. 215 Thomas of Celano spoke of St. Francis as “the very strong soldier of the Lord. ” 216
Unreserved support for the Crusade was normative in the Franciscan order as well. 217 That support was not limited to words. From the 1220s onward, the burden of preaching the crusade and collecting crusading taxes fell on the Franciscans and Dominicans, 218 while the Tertiaries, the Franciscans' lay brethren, obtained papal permission to carry arms in defense of the Roman Church, the Christian faith, and Christian lands. But the Franciscans themselves also knew how to take up arms. Jacques of Vitry, a contemporary of Francis, reported that the Friars Minor “do not withhold their sword from blood: they fight, they travel through the city in all directions, they know how to bear up under hunger, like wandering dogs. ” 219 Four centuries later, Father Joseph, a Capuchin of great political influence and an “apostle of the crusade”, wrote that Francis was a name that brought doom to the “Turks. ” 220 And a biographer of Joseph praised the “sons of St. Francis of Assisi” for having been “always ready to either preach holy war or themselves take up arms against the infidels. ” 221
If a story told by St. Bonaventure and related by an anonymous Friar Minor is reliable, St. Francis explicitly approved of the crusade. The
212 See Abulafia 1992, 98; Riley-Smith 1992, 133.
213 Cardini 1974, 234; Kedar 1988, 130.
214 Cardini 1974, 219 f., 233; Siberry 1983, 105– 6; Paciocco 1992, 712–13.
215 Bonaventure Legenda IX,7 (p. 100); Rousset 1983, 134–35.
216 Thomas of Celano First Life II, ii,93.
217 Kedar 1984, 158.
218 Sayers 1994, 195.
219 History of the Orient 32 (WEB, 1613).
220 “Francia, Franciscus, fatalia nomina Turcis. ” Turciados IV,568; quoted in Dedouvres 1894, 35.
221 Dedouvres 1932, 1: 35–37. To an advocate of the Reformed Church, the “multitude of Fryers ready to be put in Arms” became an article of accusation against the Roman Church. Sandys, Europae speculum, 74 ff.
story is about Francis's dispute with the sultan of Egypt. The sultan reputedly argued that if Christians had been true to the Gospel (he allegedly referred to Mt 5.40), they “should not invade our land. ” “'It seems,' Blessed Francis answered, 'that you have not read the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ completely. In another place we read: if your eye causes you sin, tear it out and throw it away [cf. Mt 5.29]. Here he wanted to teach us that every man, however dear and close he is to us, and even if he is as precious to us as the apple of our eye, must be repulsed, pulled out, expelled if he seeks to turn us aside from the faith and love of our God. That is why it is just that Christians invade the land you inhabit, for you blaspheme the name of Christ and alienate everyone you can from his worship.'” 222
Regardless of how spurious this story may be, St. Francis did meet the Egyptian Sultan al-Kamil at Damietta in 1219, during the Fifth Crusade. Francis's preaching of the true faith to the sultan was recorded by Francis's early biographers and has been cited ever since. 223 The encounter between the Christian saint and the Muslim ruler has become Francis's most celebrated effort at peacemaking 224 and has recently been represented as a “peaceful oasis in the story of the holy war. ” 225 But to my mind, the extraordinary part of this story is that the sultan received Francis, an unauthorized messenger of the invading army, “very honorably” 226 and “willingly listened to him and earnestly invited him to stay longer with him. ” 227 Al-Kamil's parting words to Francis—“Pray to me that God may reveal to me that law and that faith which is to Him most pleasing” 228 —have been seen as an expression of high Islamic spirituality. 229
With regard to Francis's encounter with the sultan, one should not lose sight of the fact that it took place “at a time when great and severe battles were raging daily between the Christians and the pagans”, when there was a “fierce war between the Christians and the Saracens. ” 230
222 Anonymous in Verba fr. Illuminati (WEB, 1614–15).
223 Dante, among many others, sang about the event: “ne la presenza del Soldan superba predicò Cristo. ” Paradiso XI,100–101. Cf. remarks on the episode in Cardini 1974, 225 ff.
224 It is less known that Francis worked—as a virtuous republican, one might say— for the resolution of factional struggles in Italian city republics. Berg 1985, 190.
225 Armstrong 1992, 406–7.
226 Thomas of Celano First Life I, xx,57.
227 Bonaventure The Life IX,8.
228 Jacques of Vitry History; incorporated in the New Fioretti no. 54 (WEB, 1879).
229 Cardini 1974, 228.
230 Thomas of Celano First Life I, xx,57; Bonaventure The Life IX,7.
Francis was in Egypt with the crusading army, and his peaceful preaching took place in the middle of the Crusade. He apparently preached peace to the sultan; he did not go to Damietta to speak of peace to the Crusaders. 231 Staying with the Christian army, St. Francis did not voice opposition to the Crusade. He is reported to have “forbid[den] the war, denouncing the reason for it”, only once—when he saw in a vision that if the battle took place on a certain day, it would “not go well with the Christians. ” 232 He objected to a single battle, not to war. He did not denounce the crusade but rather wished to avert defeat of the Crusaders.
Seen as a whole, Francis's endeavors contributed to the spiritualization of the crusade and may be regarded as an attempt to make it more sublime. 233 Telling in this regard is the language used by Francis and the Franciscans. The notion of militia Christi (central to the conventional crusade idea of the time) was set aside, while terms denoting service, such as servire and servus, took its place. 234 St. Francis and his followers called themselves God's servants, servi Dei, not soldiers of Christ, milites Christi, and the mission to the Saracens was presented by Francis in terms of serving God. The mission was integral to the Franciscan ideal of apostolic life. Living in absolute poverty and humility, giving themselves up unreservedly to God, the Franciscans devoted their lives to announcing the word of God to all men for the salvation of their souls, because—as Francis is quoted as saying—“it was for souls that the only-begotten Son of God deigned to hang on the cross. ” 235
At the core of the Christian redemptive mission was peace. In all his preaching, Francis first prayed for peace for those who had gathered to listen to him. “He always most devoutly announced peace to men and women, to all he met and overtook. ” 236 “At the beginning and end of every sermon he announced peace; in every greeting he wished for peace; in every contemplation he sighed for ecstatic peace. ” 237 Peace was the gift of God that Christ had brought to earth: “This is the peace proclaimed and given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ and preached again and again by our father Francis”, wrote Bonaventure. And this was the peace in the way of which Francis “guide[d] our feet. ” 238 To announce
231 Cf. Cardini 1974, 234.
232 Thomas of Celano Second Life II, iv,30.
233 See Cardini 1974; Paciocco 1992, 713.
234 Paciocco 1992, 705.
235 Bonaventure The Life IX,4.
236 Thomas of Celano First Life I, x,23.
237 Bonaventure The Soul's Journey prol. 1 (p. 53).
238 Ibid. Cf. Berg 1985, 182– 84.
peace through word and through the example of one's own life 239 was to follow Christ. Living as a peacemaker meant imitating Christ (imitatio Christi). This is why the Franciscan movement was seen as a mission of peace (pacis legatio). But for the Franciscans, speaking “a peaceable tongue” 240 was not talking of peace in the abstract: it was preaching Christianity. If they “strove for peace and gentleness with all men”, 241 it was because they were dedicated to spreading the true faith and wished all men to be Christians so that they would be saved.
Bonaventure left behind an insider's description of Francis's missionary activity: “By his zeal for the Faith, St. Francis became God's chosen instrument. He went all over the world to spread the Faith. ” 242 But apparently there was also a more subjective, less selfless motive for preaching Christianity to the infidels. Thomas of Celano, Francis's first biographer, wrote that “[g]lowing with the love for God, … burning intensely with the desire for holy martyrdom”, Francis “wanted to take ship for the regions of Syria to preach the Christian faith and penance to the Saracens and infidels. ” 243 Francis thought about the Saracens a lot, and before he reached Egypt he had unsuccessfully tried twice to go among them. 244 He “longed to offer to the Lord his own life as a living sacrifice [Rom 12.1] in the flames of martyrdom. ” The “fruit of martyrdom had so attracted his heart that he desired a precious death for the sake of Christ more intensely than all the merits from the virtues. ” 245 When he proclaimed the Christian faith to the sultan, Francis hoped that he “would be torn limb for limb for it. ” 246 This “sublime purpose of attaining martyrdom and the ardent desire for it”, that made the saint “drunk, as it were, in spirit”, 247 may be understood as striving for spiritual perfection, pushing the imitation of Christ to the point of no return, to a Christ-like death. But, as we will see shortly, what such an attraction to death brought about in practice was not always blameless.
239 On the preaching with the example of one's own life, see, e.g., the “Fragments of the Worcester Cathedral Manuscript” (Spisi, 161): “All brothers should preach with their lives. ”
240 Thomas of Celano First Life I, xv,38.
241 Ibid., I, xv,41.
242 Sermon II on St. Francis (WEB, 838).
243 First Life I, xx,55.
244 Cardini 1974, 218; Bonaventure The Life IX,6.
245 Bonaventure The Life IX,5– 6.
246 Bonaventure Sermon II (WEB, 838). Cf. Little Flowers of St. Francis I,24 (WEB, 1354), on “fervent longing for martyrdom. ”
247 Thomas of Celano First Life I, xx,56.
First, however, we have to turn to the regulative idea of the Franciscan mission.
The leading idea of the Franciscan mission is clearly worded in the first version of the Rule of the order. This Rule is believed to have been formulated by Francis in 1221 after his return from Egypt and is generally considered an authentic expression of his views. 248 Because it failed to get the papal approval, it is called the Regula non bullata, as opposed to the edited version of the Rule, which was authorized by the Pope two years later (the Regula bullata). In the Regula non bullata Francis stated that the friars who felt themselves “inspired by God to work as missionaries among the Saracens and other unbelievers”, and who were given permission by the minister of the order to go to the infidel lands (after having been found suitable for the mission), “can conduct themselves among them [the Saracens] spiritually in two ways. ” 249 “One way is to avoid quarrels or disputes and submit to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, 250 so bearing witness to the fact that they are Christians. Another way is to proclaim the word of God openly, when they see that is God's will, calling on their hearers to believe in God almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Creator of all, and in the Son, the Redeemer and Saviour, that they may be baptized and become Christians, because unless a man be born again of water, and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God [ Jn 3.5]. ” 251
New themes pertaining to the crusade movement appear here: the departure of unarmed mendicant friars to Muslim lands, bearing witness to God silently by the way the friars lived, and especially, the recommendation that they submit to Muslim law (which was based on apostolic commandment [1 Pet 2.13] but contradicted the canons of the Third and Fourth Lateran Councils). 252 These new themes, however,
248 Cf. Basetti-Sani 1959, 182.
249 Regula non bullata 16. The phrasing in the fragments of the First Rule from the Worcester Cathedral: the brothers who go among the infidels “can spiritually communicate with them in two ways. ” Spisi, 161. The fragments of the Regula preserved by Hugo Digne speak of the brothers' “acting spiritually. ” Ibid., 167.
250 1 Pet 2.13–14: “subiecti estote omni humanae creaturae propter Dominum sive regi quasi praecellenti /sive ducibus tamquam ab eo missis ab vindictam malefactorum laudem vero bonorum. ”
251 Regula non bullata 16. Basetti-Sani 1959, 42 ff., interpreted these two modi as two phases, making the point that the first period might last for centuries, because for God “a thousand years is as one day” (2 Pet 3.8).
252 Cf. Hefele 1912–13, 5.2: 1105– 6 (Third Lateran, canon 26), 1387– 88 (Fourth Lateran, canon 69); Basetti-Sani 1959, 43, 223–24.
were added to the old crusading ideas, supplementing rather than substituting for them. 253 And much of what was new seems to have been undone by friars on missionary journeys. For example, the rules for the behavior of the friars “when they travel about the world” demanded that they should “not be quarrelsome or take part in disputes with words”, but should be “gentle, peaceful, and unassuming, courteous and humble, speaking respectfully to everyone”; that they “should not offer resistance to injury”; and that, “ whatever house they enter, they should first say, 'Peace to this house' [Lk 10.5]. ” 254 Another regulation prescribed that in their preaching the friars should always use words that are “examined and chaste” and “do their best to humble themselves at every opportunity. ” 255 Yet judging by the Franciscan missionaries' behavior, these general regulations were not rigidly observed when they traveled about infidel lands and preached to the Saracens. Specific regulations for “missionaries among the Saracens and other unbelievers” were no more likely to be heeded. And not many of those regulations entered into the papally approved Rule of the order. 256
As the bishop of Acre (appointed in 1216), Jacques of Vitry was well acquainted with the situation in the Holy Land. In his view, the Franciscan order “constitutes a danger because it sends out not only formed religious, two by two, throughout the world, but also imperfectly formed young men who should better be tried and subjected to strict conventual discipline for a period of time. ” 257 It seems that, for many a Franciscan, the desire to die a martyr's death was stronger than the need to spread Christianity. In his Historia Orientalis Jacques first told his reader that “even the Saracens” admired the Franciscans' humility and virtue: “they receive them very gladly and give them all they need. ” Moreover, the “Saracens gladly listened to the Friars Minor preach as long as they explained faith in Christ and the doctrine of the gospel. ” But, Jacques also informs us, “as soon as their preaching attacked Mohammed and openly condemned him as a liar and traitor, then these ungodly men heaped
253 Cf. Daniel 1993, 140; Kedar 1984, 131.
254 Regula bullata 3; Regula non bullata 14; Fragments from the Worcester Cathedral (Spisi, 161).
255 Regula bullata 9; Regula non bullata 17.
256 In the Regula bullata 12, the instructions about the missionary work were omitted.
257 Letter from Jacques of Vitry, Spring 1220 (WEB, 1609). A revised version of the letter, without the quoted critique, was incorporated in the New Fioretti no. 53 (WEB, 1878.) On Jacques, see Kedar 1984, 116–20, 124–29; Cole 1991, 114–15, 132 ff.
blows upon them and chased them from their cities; they would have killed them if God had not miraculously protected his sons. ” 258
The founder of the order went to Muslim lands desirous of shedding his blood “for the spread of the faith in the Trinity”, 259 but his desire was not fulfilled. Some of his brethren were more successful in their search for martyrdom, abusing Muslim law and religion in order to achieve that goal. These preachers of the Gospel perceived themselves as instruments of God: as instrumental in bringing about the salvation of the Muslims. But in practice, a less noble instrumentalism seems to have prevailed. The seeker of martyrdom used the mission as the shortest path to heaven; he used the Muslims he was supposed to bring to salvation as instruments to obtain his own salvation. Following the logic of the mission, such holy selfishness sealed the perdition of the Muslims: they remained infidels and became murderers. This approach was St. Bernard's teachings turned upside down. Bernard advocated killing the infidels as a way to salvation; here, the path to salvation was being killed. Either way, the conceptualizing of Christian relations with the Muslims involved violent death.
By the end of the thirteenth century, violence provoked by missionary zealots had strengthened the conviction that an alleged Muslim prohibition against Christian preaching made peaceful evangelization in Muslim lands impossible. At the same time, an older conviction that the Muslims were inconvertible was reinforced. Early Franciscan sources, it is true, are not unanimous on this issue. Bonaventure described Francis's mission at Damietta as unsuccessful: true piety had not “taken root in the Soldan's soul”, and Francis “saw that he was making no progress in converting these people. ” 260 But another story claimed that Francis actually converted the sultan, who “generously granted permission to him and his companions to go anywhere and freely preach whatever they wished in all his empire. ” 261
As a matter of fact, the mission to the Saracens experienced problems that arose from the mission's driving force: the Christian claim to universality. The will to spread Christianity throughout the world had been reinvigorated by new religious fervor in the Latin West, of which the
258 History 32 (WEB, 1612–13). Cf. Kedar 1984, 143, 156.
259 Bonaventure The Life IX,7. An exception among the Franciscans was Giles of Assisi, who did not wish “for a martyr's death. ” See Vita beati fratris Egidii 18.
260 The Life IX,8–9.
261 Little Flowers I,24 (WEB, 1354).
Franciscan movement was a prime example. A key expression of that new religiosity was the preaching of the Gospel. The Franciscan desire to proclaim the word of God to the Saracens was part of a deeper urge to convert all human beings to the true faith. 262 But though that urge was clearly felt, how to bring about conversion of the infidels was sometimes less clear in practice. The problem first emerged in the context of preaching the crusade and was partly due to inefficient preaching. As a remedy, Paris theologians in the late twelfth century set about to define a new orientation to preaching the cross and to provide instruction to the laity both by preaching and by training preachers. 263
Early-thirteenth-century missionaries could have benefited from these developments in the art of preaching. Francis of Assisi, however, appears to have relied on his talents alone. He claimed that no one but the Most High Himself had told him what to do. This is probably what prompted Jacques of Vitry, who had been one of the Parisian moral theologians working on the reform of preaching, to characterize Francis as “a simple unlettered man, loved by God and men. ” 264 Coming from an educated cleric, this does not seem to have been entirely an encomium. But the image of Francis that attracts the popular imagination comes very close to Jacques of Vitry's portrayal. It is the image of a simple holy man living according to the tenets of the Gospel, moved to proclaim the joyful news to the whole world and to see and love all men as his friends and brothers. But such a view calls for qualifications.
When Francis talked about “the whole world”, he meant the Christian world. This is clear from the prayer that closes the Regula non bullata. Here Francis beseeches “the whole world, … all those who serve our Lord and God within the holy, catholic and apostolic Church, together with the whole hierarchy, … and all clerics and religious, male or female, … all lay folk, men and women, infants and adolescents, young and old, the healthy and the sick, the little and the great, all peoples, tribes, families and languages, all nations and all men everywhere, present and to come; … to persevere in the true faith and in a life of penance. ” 265
262 Cf. Kedar 1984, 119.
263 See Cole 1991, 113 ff.
264 History 32 (WEB, 1612). In the New Fioretti no. 54 (WEB, 1879), the same text reads: “a simple and ignorant man. ” The Papacy, for its part, took care to subject Franciscan missionary work to its own supervision. But Francis's thinking about universal evangelization conformed to the thinking prevalent in the ecclesiastical hierarchy and intellectual centers. 265 Regula non bullata 23.
Francis of course wanted to enlarge this “whole world. ” He wanted to preach to the unbelievers. He called them friends, declared his love for them, and commended his brethren to love them. Had the infidels heard Francis talking of his love for them, they would probably have found it a strange kind of love indeed. But even from the Christian point of view, that love was not as pure as appears at first sight. It was not without reservations; even worse, it was calculating and self-interested. Love for the unbelievers was commended because it was the Lord's commandment to love one's enemies. “Love your enemies” is perhaps the most frequently cited Scriptural reference in Francis's Opuscula. It is as enemies that the infidels are loved, and they are loved for the love of Him. 266 However, loving God is unconditional; loving unbelievers is not. For they will only be truly loved if they cease to be who they are: infidels. “But if you were to recognize, confess, and adore the Creator and Redeemer, Christians would love you as themselves”, Francis is reported to have said to the sultan. 267 Talking about the infidels as friends also had a very specific meaning for Francis. The infidels were friends because through suffering the misdeeds of the infidels, Christians were able to enter heaven. “Our Lord Jesus Christ himself”, Francis explained, “called the man who betrayed him his friend, and gave himself up of his own accord to his executioners. Therefore, our friends are those who for no reason cause us trouble and suffering, shame or injury, pain or torture, even martyrdom and death. It is these we must love, and love very much, because for all they do to us we are given eternal life. ” 268
However one judges their motives, the Franciscans strove to win the unbelievers over to eternal life in Christ. But that was not an easy task. At the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the incompetence of Christian preachers was blamed for the failure to convince the infidels—that is, the Muslims—that Christianity was the true faith. Christian propagandists were able to negate Islam but did not know how to affirm Christianity. This view was vividly put forward by Ramon Lull early in the fourteenth century:
It is said that a certain Christian religious learned in Arabic was in Tunis disputing with the king. This religious proved by an attack on Moslem morality that the law of Mahomet was erroneous and false. The king, who knew something of logic and of natural philosophy, was convinced and said to the
266 Cf. ibid., 16.
267 Anonymous in Verba fr. Illuminati (WEB, 1615).
268 Regula non bullata 22.
Christian, “From now on I refuse to be a Moslem; prove to me that your Faith is true and I will embrace it and see that it is adopted in my whole kingdom under pain of death. ” The religious replied: “The Christian faith cannot be proved, but here is the creed in Arabic, accept it. ” … The king replied: “I refuse simply to abandon one belief for another without proof and without understanding the new faith. You have done ill, for you have taken from me the belief I had and gave me nothing in return. ” 269
The Franciscans did their share of abusing Islam, but they also reflected on the difficulty of convincing unbelievers about the truth of the Christian faith. This was most clearly expressed by Bonaventure (who also worked for the crusading movement) 270 when he described Francis's meeting with Sultan al-Kamil. The core of the problem was the incapacity of human reason to prove religious truth. In his second sermon on St. Francis, Bonaventure related that after Francis had reached the sultan and proclaimed the Christian faith, the sultan replied: “We will call our philosophers and discuss our faith and yours. ” The saint, however, refused the invitation to discussion: “Our faith is beyond reason, and reason is of use only to him who believes. ” 271 Furthermore, in religious disputation with unbelievers, reason could not be supported with Christian authorities: “I cannot argue from Sacred Scripture either”, Francis said, “because they [the Muslim philosophers] do not believe in it. ” 272 In a slightly different version of this story, Bonaventure has the sultan suggest to Francis that he hold a disputation with his “priests”, which Francis declined because “the Christian Faith could never be discussed from the standpoint of reason, because it transcends reason, and it could not be discussed on the basis of the Holy Scripture, because they did not accept it. ” 273 Bonaventure added a moral: “We should therefore not mix so much water of philosophy with the wine of the Holy Scripture that wine becomes water; that would be a very bad miracle; for we read that Christ changed water into wine, not the other way around. ” 274
Though he refused to enter into dispute, St. Francis did not waver in his determination to prove the truth of Christianity. He asked the sultan to “make a big fire with wood, and I will go into it with your philoso-
269 Liber de acquisitione terrae sanctae; quoted in Hillgarth 1971, 22. Cf. Lull Blanquerna 84 (p. 356); Felix I,7 (pp. 693–94).
270 Cardini 1974, 245– 46.
271 Sermon II on St. Francis (WEB, 838). Cf. Basetti-Sani 1959, 267.
272 Sermon II on St. Francis (WEB, 838). Cf. Basetti-Sani 1959, 176, 267.
273 Collationes XIX,14 (p. 352).
phers. When we see who is burned, we shall know whose religion is wrong. ” 275 But because the sultan feared that he could not find anyone “willing to expose himself to the fire to defend his faith or to undergo any kind of torment”, 276 Francis insisted that he be allowed to go into the flames on his own: “If I am burned, it is because of my sins. If not, then you should welcome our Christian Faith. ” The story has the sultan replying that he could never do that because “my people would stone me. ” 277 Unfortunately for St. Francis, Islamic jurisdiction did not recognize trial by ordeal. And as Francis must have known, a few years earlier Pope Innocent III had prohibited clergy from participating in trial by ordeal.
The problem of how to make unbelievers accept the universalist claims of Christianity had predated St. Francis and continued to engage the minds of Christian dignitaries and intellectuals after Francis's death. Part of the problem in disputation with unbelievers, as we have seen, was the impossibility (or limited possibility) of using Scriptural arguments. Before the mission to the Muslims, St. Anselm's pupil Gilbert Crispin, for example, had pointed out in his Disputatio Judei et Christiani, a seminal work of the last decade of the eleventh century, that Christian apologists reasoning with the Jews must accept that the Jew would recognize only the authority of the Old Testament and limit their arguments accordingly. 278 A century later, in the De articulis catholicae fidei, Nicholas of Amiens bemoaned the sway of the “ridiculous teaching of Mahomet” in the East and the corruption of the West with heresies. How, he asked, were all those infidels to be convinced when there was no text they all accepted as authoritative, so that all they had in common with the Christians were their rational minds? 279
However logical the idea that reason provides common grounds for religious discussion, not all Christian apologists were as confident in reason as was Peter the Venerable. The possibility of rational argument caused quite a bit of unease in some quarters because reason unbridled by the authority of the Bible and the Christian Fathers could lead to unsafe conclusions. According to Alain of Lille, writing at the end of the twelfth century, monsters had been the outcome of the heretics' philosophical speculations. His own solution was to marshal against them
275 Sermon II on St. Francis (WEB, 838).
276 The Life IX,8.
277 Sermon II on St. Francis (WEB, 839). Cf. The Life IX,8.
278 Evans 1983, 129.
279 Ibid., 129–30.
first reasons and then authorities. 280 Theoretically, at least, this was an easier task with the Cathars and Waldensians than with the Muslims, since the heretics challenged only priestly authority, not the authority of the Scripture. But the final argument in both cases was the crusade.
The unreliability of reason unsupported by sacred authorities was only one aspect of what Christian propagandists experienced as the difficulty in persuading the infidels to embrace Christianity. The core of the problem (as expressed by St. Bonaventure in his reminiscences of St. Francis) was the incapacity of human reason to grasp divine truth. In this light, representing the unfaithful as irrational, as Peter the Venerable had done, was not a compelling argument; for at least some Christians themselves doubted the powers of reason. St. Francis's attempt to resort to trial by ordeal demonstrates how weak was the case for rational discussion between Christians and Muslims. Another Franciscan, Roger Bacon, tried to restore faith in reason as the guiding light to the establishment of a universal Christian republic.
THE SCIENTIFIC CRUSADE: ROGER BACON
Like Francis of Assisi half a century earlier, Roger Bacon is a fascinating figure. “It is impossible to read him without loving him—yet we have to ask ourselves whether we love him so much, now that he is dead, because he was not loved when he was alive. ” 281 His troubled life, however, is not my subject. At issue here are his troubling thoughts. Few historians who have studied Bacon have found his ideas disquieting. He is often praised as a critic of the crusade and, therefore, as a pacifist. 282 Since Bacon argued for conversion of the Muslims, many commentators think that he rejected the Crusade. 283 But Bacon's criticism of the crusade was qualified. 284 Neither his advocacy of preaching to the Muslims nor his desire for the establishment of “universal peace” can be disputed. But the universal peace he sought was the peace of the universal rule of the Roman Church: the Greeks would rejoin the Roman Church, the Tartars would be converted, the Saracens exterminated, and there
280 Ibid., 129–32.
281 Gilson 1952, 75.
282 E.g., Throop 1940, 132–33.
283 Cf. Southern 1962, 59.
284 Cf. Siberry 1983, 108; Housley 1992, 377.
would be only one shepherd and one sheepfold (Jn 10.16). 285 Bacon had a noble dream: the idea of one universal people encompassing all men of good will united by their common profession of the Christian faith. 286 But he realized that the establishment of such a Christian cosmopolis might require more than preaching to the Muslims and other infidels, and he suggested turning the crusade into scientific warfare.
Bacon's starting point was pessimistic. The Christians were few. “We also know that the majority of human race has always erred both in philosophy and with regard to divine wisdom”, he stated. “And when the apostolic church was gathered together through preaching, few remained in the true faith, and up to this time they are few when counted against the multitude of the world, namely, those who are subject to the Roman Church. All the remaining multitude is in error, like the pagans, idolators, Jews, Saracens, Tartars, heretics, [and] schismatics, in comparison with whom the supporters of the true Christian faith are very few. ” 287 Moreover, among this Christian minority, the state of their faith was shaky. For the greater number of Christians, as he saw it, faith was dead. 288 The imminent coming of the Antichrist was always on his mind, and the end of the world, he thought, was nigh. 289
Against this gloomy historical landscape, Bacon worked tirelessly to reorganize the entirety of Christian learning. His program was not aimed at knowledge for knowledge's sake. Bacon strongly believed in the usefulness of sciences (as branches of knowledge), for knowledge was the only reliable guide through this world. In Bacon's view, “the welfare [utilitas] of the whole world depends on the study of wisdom”, 290 for one cannot do good if one does not know what good is. Bacon was concerned for the well-being and prosperity of all the people. But life in the world below had one supreme purpose: the life thereafter. The knowledge that was to guide men in temporal affairs was thus, ultimately, Christian knowledge leading to eternal life. The highest wisdom and truth had been revealed to the Christians. Bacon did not doubt that “there is only one perfect wisdom, given by the one God to one human
285 Opus tertium 24 (p. 86). Cf. Carton 1924, 87, 96; Landry 1929, 82; Gilson 1952, 90. On the destruction of the Saracens, cf. Part of the Opus tertium, 19; Opus minus, 321. For the conversion of the Tartars, cf. chap. 5 n. 239.
286 Gilson 1952, 76.
287 Compendium … Theology I,2.
288 Ibid. Cf. Compendium … philosophiae, 398 f.; Part of Opus tertium, 62.
289 Cf. Carton 1924, 108 ff.
290 Opus tertium 1 (p. 11).
race for the one purpose, that is, the eternal life, [and that wisdom is] contained in its entirety in the Holy Scripture. ” 291 Under the guidance of this true knowledge, Christian society had to be morally renovated and reordered, 292 and the infidels converted. The welfare of the world must be based on religious unity, for only on this basis could all matters be directed “in the proper way. ” 293 In other words, developing the sciences was a necessary means of saving and consolidating Christianity and the Christian commonwealth. But because the Christian republic could only be perfect if it were universal, the inner reform of Christendom had to be complemented with spreading the true faith.
The methodical application of knowledge to all aspects of life as envisioned by Bacon had to follow four main objectives. Sciences were to be used for the governance of the Church of God, for the regulation of the commonwealth of the faithful (respublica fidelium), for securing the conversion of unbelievers, and for the suppression of those “who persist in their malice. ” 294 Knowledge was an instrument of domination, both useful and necessary for governing the world. And for Bacon, how the world was to be governed was not open for discussion. He was an ardent papal monarchist. The Pope, he believed, was the mediator between God and mankind, “the vicar of God on earth, to whom the whole human race is subject, and who must be believed without contradiction. ” As such, the Holy Father was “the lawgiver and the high priest who in things temporal and spiritual has full power, as it were, a human God, … whom it is lawful to adore after God. ” 295
Bacon placed his highest hopes in Clement IV, who was elected Pope in 1265 and whom he knew personally and esteemed. 296 But that personal acquaintance was circumstantial. Bacon subscribed as a matter of principle to the idea that the Pope, as head of the Church of God, should rule the world. 297 Foremost among men, it was the Pope who above all others needed knowledge. Bacon therefore wanted to provide the Pope with all the knowledge he had recovered from ancient sources and de-
291 Ibid., 23 (p. 73).
292 Cf. Maloney 1988, 1–5.
293 Cf. Bacon Opus majus, 3.
294 Ibid.; Compendium … philosophiae, 395. The last point, although an aspect of Bacon's thought of capital importance, “a été peu étudié jusqu'à présent. ” Gilson 1952, 77 n. 1.
295 Opus majus, 639.
296 Cf. Gilson 1952, 89.
297 “Habetis ecclesiam Dei in potestate vestra, et mundum totum habetis dirigere”, was Bacon's message to Pope Clement. Opus tertium 24 (p. 87).
veloped through his lifelong studies. The studious Franciscan monk compared himself to Aristotle. Because Aristotle had initiated Alexander the Great into the secret paths of knowledge, Alexander had been able to conquer the world. 298 So too, possessing the knowledge gathered by Bacon, the Pope would be able to sway the world. 299 Sciences when employed by papal authority would drive out evil, promote blessings of all kinds, and hinder what ailed Christianity. 300 Bacon was convinced that the Antichrist “will employ the potency of science and will convert all things into evil. ” He believed that the Antichrist and his followers were going to make full use of scientific knowledge for evil ends. 301 It was thus of vital importance that the Church also be armed with knowledge. The Church had to meet the doings of the Antichrist “by similar means”—that is, by utilizing sciences—in order to hinder and destroy his work. 302
In sum, the Roman Church under the supreme authority of the Pope was to make use of sciences to attain one overarching goal: the welfare of a triumphant Christian republic. This Christian triumphalism entailed conversion of the infidels and suppression of the obdurate—those whom it would be “impossible to convert”—with “warlike labor. ” 303 Bacon never forgot to back conversion of the unbelievers with force: should words fail to effect the adoption of Christianity, violence was always in stock. When his dedication to conversion is taken out of context, Bacon looks like a critic of the crusade who believed that preaching was the only path to the expansion of Christendom. But Bacon was aware that not every infidel was “the assiduous man who is amenable to the force of reason. ” 304 If “persuasion” failed, Bacon had other methods for “reprobation” of the “obstinate. ” But first let us examine in more detail Bacon's ideas about “persuasion” of the infidels.
“Persuasion in regard to the faith”, the aim of which was conversion of the infidels, could be accomplished either by miracles “which are above believers and unbelievers”, or by philosophy, “the road common
298 Opus majus, 634.
299 But Bacon also hoped for the Pope's help in promoting Christian learning by attacking violently “weak authorities and the multitude itself” as two of the causes of error. Opus majus, 35. On the general causes of human errors, cf. Compendium … Theology I,2.
300 Opus majus, 417.
301 Ibid., 415; Part of Opus tertium, 17.
302 Opus majus, 417.
303 Opus tertium 1 (p. 4); Opus minus, 395.
304 Opus majus, 797.
to believers and unbelievers. ” 305 Bacon planned a prominent role for philosophy in conversion endeavors. The primary target of conversion was the Muslims, and thirteenth-century developments in philosophy in the Latin West were indebted to Muslim philosophy. Bacon conceded that the unbelievers were “more studious than Christians” when it came to philosophy. 306 He also knew that arguing on the basis of Christian authorities was compelling only to Christians. In accordance with the rules of disputation, he wrote, the unbelievers “can deny all things in the law of Christ, just as Christians deny what is contained in other laws. And since they deny Christ, it is not strange if they deny the authorities of the Christians. ” Therefore, he argued, the Christian faith had to be proved with philosophical methods. 307 But therein lay a problem.
For Bacon, philosophy was “merely the unfolding of the divine wisdom by learning and art. ” 308 The power of philosophy, he argued, was not alien to the wisdom of God because “all wisdom is from the Lord God” and “the truth wherever found is thought to belong to Christ. ” 309 Before we see these phrases as nothing more than Bacon's platform for Christian missionary activity, we need to pause for a moment. His thoughts here appear to have a personal ring as well. To the Christian authorities, Bacon was suspect. It seems therefore likely that Bacon, while expressing his ideas about conversion of the infidels, was also defending the usefulness of the study of “pagan” philosophy for Christianity and justifying his own eclectic method of “plucking out” of nonChristian philosophy whatever he could make use of. 310 But even if Bacon's phrases cited here are an apologia pro domo sua at least as much as they are an attempt to pave the way to engaging with learned potential converts, I dwell here only on the latter, his ideas about religious “persuasion. ”
Bacon's statement that “the whole aim of philosophy is that the Creator may be known through the knowledge of the creature” was acceptable to any Muslim or Jewish philosopher of his day. For Bacon,
305 Ibid., 71. Cf. 703.
306 Ibid., 73.
307 Ibid., 71. Restated in ibid., 793.
308 Ibid., 65.
309 Ibid., 39, 43, 48.
310 This attitude is reminiscent of Augustine: “If those who are called philosophers, especially the Platonists, have said things which are indeed true and are well accommodated to our faith, they should not be feared; rather, what they have said should be taken from them as from unjust possessors and converted to our use. ” Augustine drew a parallel between the spoils that the Israelites took from the Egyptians and the things of value that Christians could derive from pagan learning. Augustine On Christian Doctrine II, xl,60.
however, there was only one God, one world, and one human race. And thus, it followed, “God's wisdom cannot be plural. ” 311 When Bacon wrote that “all that which is contrary, or alien, to the wisdom of God is false and vain, and can be of no service to the human race”, 312 he meant his own, Christian, God. There could be only one true philosophy, one unfolding of the one divine wisdom serving the one divine truth. Bacon, it is true, did not deny a certain degree of rationality to the religion of the Saracens: like the religion of the Jews and the Christians, it was “more rational” than the religions of the pagans and idolaters. 313 And yet philosophy was in perfect conformity only with the Christian religion. 314 And only the philosophy that conformed to Christianity was true and useful. Philosophy on its own, unconnected to divine wisdom, was of “no utility. ” Worse than that, such philosophy led “to the blindness of hell” and therefore must have been in itself “darkness and mist. ” 315
What, we might ask, would the imagined dialogue between Christians and infidels gain by its translation into philosophy? In Bacon's scheme, philosophy dissolved into Christianity and was subordinated to the Christian faith. It was Christian law that made philosophy true by adding “to the law of philosophers the formulated articles of faith, by which it completes the law of moral philosophy, so that there may be one complete law. ” Only Christian philosophy could do what philosophy was supposed to do: “enter into the proofs of the principles of theology”, the principles of which were the articles of faith. 316 A nonChristian philosopher could not enter the path of conversion through philosophical disputation because he first needed to be converted, lest his philosophizing lead him to hell. For Bacon it was “obvious” that “man should not attempt to inquire regarding these divine verities before he is taught and believes. ” 317 Christian belief was thus not only the goal to which philosophical argument should lead; it was also the starting point of sane philosophical inquiry. The circle was closed. The true faith was the key to philosophy, rather than philosophy being the key to conversion.
Bacon nonetheless believed in conversion, argued for it, and cited
311 Opus majus, 49, 805.
312 Opus tertium 23 (p. 73).
313 Pagans lived according to custom, not according to laws based on reason. Opus majus, 789.
314 Ibid., 807.
315 Ibid., 66, 74.
316 Ibid., 72, 71.
317 Ibid., 804.
practical reasons for his position. When Christians confer with pagans, he wrote, the pagans “are easily convinced and perceive that they are in error. ” The proof of this is found in reports from the northern crusading front stating that the pagans “would become Christians very gladly if the Church were willing to permit them to retain their liberty and enjoy their possessions in peace. But the Christian princes who labor for their conversion, and especially the brothers of the Teutonic order, desire to reduce them to slavery, as the Dominicans and Franciscans and other good men throughout all Germany and Poland are aware. For this reason they offer opposition: hence they are resisting oppression, not the arguments of a superior religion. ” 318 Bacon's choice of this case is significant. The Northern Crusades, as they are called, were more open to criticism than the Eastern Crusades. Crusades to the Holy Land might be criticized for their failures and abuses; but it is difficult to imagine anyone in Latin Christendom arguing for permitting the Muslims “to retain their liberty and enjoy their possessions in peace. ” Bacon certainly did not. His criticism of the crusade was limited to the Northern Crusades, the Children's Crusade, and the Crusade of Shepherds. The Children's Crusade, Bacon wrote, took children from their fathers, mothers, and friends and led to a loss for Christendom because the children were in the end sold to the Saracens. The Crusade of Shepherds he blamed for its “contempt of the clergy” and for stirring up disorder in Germany and confusion in the Church. Whereas the originator of the former was “an evil man”, the originators of the latter were doubtlessly “emissaries of the Tartars and Saracens. ” 319 There was nothing exceptional about Bacon's selective criticism of the crusades. His contemporary Humbert of Romans, the fifth master of the Dominican order, for example, also regarded the “idolaters in northern parts” as benign but insisted that the war against Muslims be continued. 320 “Liberty” of Palestine, in Bacon's conceptualization, meant its occupation by Latin Christians. Be the fortunes of other Christian conquests as they may, the Holy Land and Jerusalem had to remain securely in Christian possession. 321
To bring home to his fellow Christians the need for conversion of the infidels, however, Bacon could not rest with his sympathetic portrayal of the pagans on Christendom's northeastern borders and his criticism of
318 Ibid., 797. Cf. 111. For the historical context of this criticism, cf. Christiansen 1980, 145 ff.; Nicholson 1995, 39.
319 Opus majus, 416–17.
320 Christiansen 1980, 146. Cf. Siberry 1983, 108.
321 Opus majus, 112.
the Teutonic Knights. He put forward a very pragmatic and realistic argument: war alone could not secure Christian domination. The Fifth Crusade, as “all the world knows”, he pointed out, had been a failure. 322 But even if Christian armies could conquer the infidel countries, there would be “no one to defend the lands occupied. ” After making a foreign expedition, Christian victors “return to their own lands”, while “the natives remain and multiply. ” 323 In war, unbelievers are not converted but “slain and sent to hell”, while those who survive become an intractable problem: “The survivors of the wars and their sons are angered more and more against the Christian faith because of those wars, and are infinitely removed from the faith of the Christ, and are inflamed to do Christians all possible evils. ” 324 Oppression bred resistance. Reliance on force of arms alone frustrated the work of conversion, which was a better way to obtain and secure the Christian dominion.
The success of conversion efforts required that “we may be skillful preachers to all who are in need of preaching, and so also in regard to the other forms of persuasion useful for salvation. ” 325 Moreover, “the knowledge of languages is necessary to the Latins for the conversion of unbelievers. ” 326 Neglecting the study of tongues—argued Bacon, who himself did not learn Arabic 327 —was synonymous with irresponsible failure on the part of Christians to fulfill their duty to God. “For the Christians are few, and the whole broad world is occupied by unbelievers; and there is no one to show them the truth. ” 328 Astronomy and geography were also needed to convert the infidels—astronomy because celestial causes determine the course of terrestrial affairs, and “terrestrial things will not be known without a knowledge of the celestial. ” Because astronomy “regulates all things”, “every splendid work ought to be done at times selected. ” Geography was needed because “whether one sets forth to convert unbelievers or on other matters of the Church, he should know the rites and conditions of all nations, in order that with definite aim he may seek the proper place. ” 329
Bacon delighted in words 330 and believed that there was “a very great
322 Ibid., 111; Part of Opus tertium, 19.
323 Opus majus, 111–12.
324 Ibid., 111.
325 Ibid., 81.
326 Ibid., 110.
327 See Metlitzki 1977, 41, 257 n. 75 (with further references).
328 Opus majus, 112.
329 Ibid., 129, 405, 321. Cf. Part of Opus tertium, 10–12
330 Man “delights” in word, he said. Opus majus, 414.
potency in words. ” Word, he wrote, “is the most ready instrument of the rational soul, therefore it has greater efficacy than any other thing man does, especially when uttered with definite intention, great desire, and strong confidence. ” 331 But he thought of other means of bringing about conversion as well. He expected great service from experimental science, especially because the Antichrist was going to accomplish his designs scientifically, so that “men will obey him just as beasts. ” 332 Thus it was urgent to employ experimental science in the service of Christ—even before the time of meeting the Antichrist. The “works” that the Antichrist was going to use against the Church “could now be employed against the Tartars, Saracens, idolaters, and other infidels”, for it was certain that these could not otherwise be properly overcome. 333
A plea for the faith could be made effectively through experimental science—“not by arguments but by works, which is the more effective way. ” 334 For example, people could be influenced indirectly through transforming the human environment: “changing the character of a region” would change “the habits of its people. ” Science could also be used to affect humans directly: “The body … can be changed by the influence of things, and the minds of people are then aroused and influenced to desire voluntarily that to which they are directed; just as we see in the book of Medicine that through potions and many medicines people can be changed in body and in the passions of the soul and in the inclination of the will. ” 335
Performing miracles was another way of using experimental science to spread the faith. “For to the man who denies the truth of the faith because he cannot understand it”, explained Bacon, “I shall state the mutual attraction of things in nature…. Likewise I shall tell him that a jar may be broken without human force, and the wine contained in it remain motionless and without flow for three days; and that gold and silver in a pouch, and a sword in its scabbard may be consumed without injury to their containers…. For these facts and similar ones ought to influence a man and urge him to accept the divine verities. Since if in the vilest creatures verities are found by which the pride of the human intellect ought to be subdued so that it may believe them although it does not understand them, conviction should follow, or injury will be done
332 Ibid., 415.
333 Part of Opus tertium, 19.
334 Opus majus, 632.
335 Ibid., 628; Part of Opus tertium, 52.
to infallible truth, since a man ought rather to humble his mind to the glorious truths of God. ” 336 These examples may appear fantastic to today's reader, but the underlying consideration is certainly not naive. The function of experimental science was “the formation of judgement. ” By performing this function, sciences could—and should—be used for “the direction of the whole world. ” 337 Their usefulness for the conversion of unbelievers was obvious.
Where neither speculative nor experimental sciences—neither “words” nor “works”—succeeded in bringing the infidels over to Christianity, Bacon suggested applying scientific knowledge for their suppression. He was the first orthodox Latin Christian to renounce the use of the sword against the unfaithful—in favor of more effective means of destruction. “On behalf of the Church of God”, experimental sciences could be used with great advantage “against the enemies of the faith … who should be destroyed rather by the discoveries of science than by the warlike arms of combatants. ” 338 The crusaders appeared from Bacon's perspective as ignorant laymen fighting battles at random. Such nescience had to be overcome. The future expansion of the Christian republic should principally depend on scientifically conducted war. 339
Bacon argued that by dealing with conflict in a scientific manner the prohibition against shedding Christian blood could be observed. His dislike of conflict and war within Christendom was conventional: he said they were sown by the enemies of Christians. Less conventional was his conviction that wars among Christians could be averted with the proper use of knowledge. Had astronomy been consulted in recent history, he argued, peace could have been promoted among Christians and “so great a slaughter of Christians would not have occurred nor would so many souls have been sent below. ” 340 Truly original were his proposals for sparing Christian blood in wars against the infidels. He envisaged how inconvertible unbelievers “who persist in their malice” could be “held in check by the excellence of knowledge, so that they may be driven off from the borders of the Church in a better way than by the shedding of Christian blood. ” 341
However, driving the infidels away from the borders of the Church
336 Opus majus, 632.
337 Ibid., 632, 587.
338 Ibid., 633.
339 Gilson 1952, 82.
340 Opus majus, 401, cf. 416.
341 Ibid., 3.
could never be realized. Even if those borders were determined, driving infidels away would only move back the borders. Infidels would always be there, representing borders and thus posing a threat to the Church. They would have to be driven away endlessly. Bacon's idea was a recipe for permanent war until the terrestrial Church became universal and thus borderless and the last of the unfaithful was annihilated. But Bacon did not see this as a problem. His mind was absorbed with solving another problem: the invention of technical means to a bloodless struggle against the enemies of the faith. If, as the Christians thought, wisdom given by God ordained them to destroy His enemies; the wisdom of the Church should lead them to consider using science against unbelievers and rebels “in order that it may spare Christian blood. ” 342
Bacon thought so highly of his idea of scientific warfare that he preferred not to call it war. Instead, he called it “the way of wisdom” as opposed to “the labour of war. ” 343 The two could be combined. An assemblage of learned men should be sent with any military expedition so that the infidels could be subjugated more permanently and completely. In this synthesis of material and spiritual coercion “the power of languages and of the different letters must not be despised. ” 344 Bacon's program thus reiterated the link between crusade and mission. 345 The true “way of wisdom”, however, meant more than having men of learning assist Christian soldiers. Those who had knowledge should, rather, lead war against the unbelievers.
The unbelievers to be fought with science were the Saracens. Bacon was convinced that war against them could be greatly enhanced by the use of optics. In perhaps the first argument for psychological warfare, Bacon suggested that with a proper arrangement of mirrors, for example, “a single object will appear in as many images as we wish. ” “Images of this kind might profitably be produced” to the advantage of the Christian republic. Such images “might also be used against unbelievers to inspire terror. Moreover, if one knew that the air is dense, so that reflection could be obtained from it, he might produce many unusual appearances of this kind. In this way we believe that demons show camps and armies and many wonders to men; and by reflected vision all things hidden in secret places in cities, armies, and the like can be brought to
342 Ibid., 287, 643. Cf. Carton 1924, 95.
343 Opus majus, 112; cf. 415.
344 Ibid., 112.
345 See Kedar 1984, chap. 5.
light…. Similarly mirrors might be erected on an elevation opposite hostile cities and armies, so that all that was being done by the enemy might be visible. ” But the “wonders of refracted vision are still greater. ” With the proper use of mirrors, “a child might appear a giant, and a man a mountain. He might appear of any size whatever, … and close as we wish. Thus a small army might appear very large, and situated at a distance might appear close at hand, and the reverse. So also we might cause the sun, moon, and stars in appearance to descend here below, and similarly to appear above the heads of our enemies, and we might cause many similar phenomena, so that the mind of a man ignorant of the truth could not endure them. ” 346
Other inventions of experimental science could “disturb the hearing to such a degree that, if they are set off suddenly at night with sufficient skill, neither city nor army can endure them. No clap of thunder can compare with such noises. Certain of these strike such terror to the sight that coruscations of the clouds disturb it incomparably less. ” 347 Still other wonders could be effected with explosives. 348 Important arts had been discovered, “so that without a sword or any weapon requiring physical contact they could destroy all who offer resistance. ” For example, a consuming fire could be produced by yellow petroleum “which can be extinguished with difficulty; for water cannot put it out. ” 349
This brings us to Bacon's most famous idea of bloodless holy war: the burning mirrors. “This is the ultimate which the power of geometry can do. For this mirror would burn fiercely everything on which it could be focused. We are to believe that Antichrist will use these mirrors to burn up cities and camps and armies. ” 350 Once again, the Church had to meet the Antichrist on his own terms. As Bacon wrote to the Pope (probably advertising his own work), the “most skilful of the Latins is busily engaged on the construction of this [burning] mirror, and the glory of your Magnificence will be able to order him to complete it when he is known to you. ” 351 Bacon regretted that “Christians beyond the sea” had not had such mirrors. Had “the men of Acre” had twelve such mirrors, “they would have chased the Saracens from their borders without bloodshed. ”
346 Opus majus, 581– 82; Part of Opus tertium, 41.
347 Opus majus, 629.
348 Part of Opus tertium, 51.
349 Opus majus, 629.
350 Ibid., 135. For Bacon's “basic research”, see De speculis comburentibus. Cf. Epistola … de Secretis V (p. 535); Part of Opus tertium, 51–52.
351 Opus majus, 644, 135.
And if the king of France had had mirrors “that burn up every opposing object”, he “would not have had to cross the sea to conquer that land” but could have burnt Saracen armies from afar. Any future crusade should therefore count on a master of burning mirrors who, with his two assistants, would be more helpful than most, if not all, the soldiers. 352 Wishing to spare Christian blood, Bacon ended up sparing Muslim blood—but not, however, their lives.
THE INFIDEL'S CONSCIENCE IS INVIOLABLE
BUT NOT HIS LIFE: ST. THOMAS AQUINAS
Bacon took special pride in having classified all the religions of the world in his Opus majus. 353 He thought this part of his “moral or civil science”, as he wrote to the Pope, superior to the rest of philosophy. 354 Indeed, Bacon is regarded today as one of the first to make a comparative study of religion. 355 He explained the differences among religions with the help of theories of climate and the influences of planets, and classified religions according to the ends they pursued (pleasure, riches, honor, power, fame, or future felicity). 356 The “law of the Saracens”, for example, was the law of Venus, in which “a delight in sin abounds. ” Very conventionally, Bacon wrote of the Saracens as “wholly voluptuous and lascivious. ” Their concerns were confined to the present life. Because they abused temporal blessings and yielded to the allurements of pleasures, they lost the chance for future felicity. In accordance with their law, Bacon added, they took “as many wives as they wish. ” Muhammad himself had been even worse, for “every beautiful woman he took forcibly from her husband and violated her. ” Astronomy and astrology were also a source of consolation: they predicted the imminent destruction of Mohammedan law. 357
The aim of Bacon's study of religions was to prove that Christianity was the only perfect religion. 358 The outcome of his study was thus “a
352 Opus tertium 36 (p. 116–17); Opus majus, 633.
353 Opus minus, 320.
354 Part of Opus tertium, 61– 62.
355 See especially Heck 1957.
356 See Opus majus, 272 ff.; 788 ff., 804 ff.; Part of Opus tertium, 65– 67. Cf. Heck 1957, pt. 2, chap. 2– 4.
357 Opus majus, 287, 289, 294, 278, 788, 811.
358 “Nam quid est pulchrius”, Bacon wrote of his own work, “quam per vias astronomiae distinguere omnes sectas et eligere sectam Christianam?” Opus minus, 320. Cf. Part of Opus tertium, 62.
general survey of all the possible enemies of Christendom”, 359 and in his scheme non-Christian religions appear as different forms of unbelief. In his opinion, “there can only be one perfect sect of the faithful. ” Consequently, “the law of Christ should be preferred to the others. ” There must be “no other law than that one, the establishment of which, since it is the best, must then be extended throughout the whole world. ” 360 One of the objects of Bacon's “comparative study of religion” was to “reduce the whole world to the law of truth in which alone is the salvation of the humankind. ” 361
But as long as Christianity was not universally accepted, Bacon saw the world as divided into two opposing blocs. This view was common enough to western Christendom. In his De fide catholica (written at the end of the twelfth century), for example, Alain of Lille had synthesized dissenting Christians (Cathars and Waldensians), Jews, and Muslims into “one general heresy”, as opposed to the “faithful people” living under Christian law. For Alain, people (populus) was a technical term denoting a company of men living in one place under a single law. Heretics, on the other hand, were not a populus. They were gentes: undistinguished by any character, they were merely begotten (geniti) and united simply by birth. 362
Like Bacon and others, Thomas Aquinas thought of the infidels as a single enemy. He called them gentiles—those who had not yet found their way to the Christian faith. 363 He wrote the Summa contra gentiles against this sum total of all who did not belong to the faithful people. Composed on the initiative of Raymond of Peñafort, a leading figure in the Dominican order, the Summa appears to have been intended as a handbook for the education of Dominican missionaries. 364 Aquinas also wrote a small treatise against the Saracens, De rationibus fidei, which
359 Southern 1962, 59. Cf. Daniel 1993, 216.
360 Opus majus, 662, 805, 814.
361 Part of Opus tertium, 63.
362 Evans 1983, 128–29. Alain's definition of “people” echoes Cicero De re publica I, xxv,39 (“populus autem non omnis hominum coetus quoquo modo congregatus, sed coetus multitudinis iuris consensu et utilitatis communione sociatus”) discussed in Augustine The City of God II,21; XIX,21. Cf. Isidore of Seville Etym. VIII, x,12. On Alain's life and work, see d'Alverny 1965b. Alain preached the Third Crusade. See his Sermo de cruce Domini (Textes inédits, 279 f.). Alain's construction of “one general heresy” is characteristic of the blurring of the difference between heretics, on the one hand, and Jews, pagans, and Muslims, on the other, that became predominant among Christian writers in the thirteenth century.
Jensen 1996, 186– 87.
363 Cf. Isidore Etym. VIII, x–xi; Schwinges 1977, 91; Evans 1983, 128.
364 Hagemann 1988, 465– 66. Cf. Burns 1971, 1408 (on Peñafort, ibid., 1401); Pavlovic 1992, 105.
was meant to be of help to Christians conversing with Muslims while living in Muslim lands. A reply to questions by a cantor from Antioch, it provided arguments with which Christians could answer Muslim criticism of their faith. It was a “missionary handbook. ” 365
In contrast to the Franciscans, whose “forte was a mission of heart more than of head”, 366 the Dominicans are known for a more intellectual approach to missionary work. 367 Thomas Aquinas was a luminary of the Dominican order. His writings against the infidels are seen even today as inspiration for dialogue with the Muslims and other nonChristians. 368 It is beyond the scope of the present volume to discuss the theological arguments made by Aquinas to support Christian polemics against Islam, and the Christian reception and critique of Muslim philosophy (in which Aquinas played a major role). 369 In what follows, I outline Aquinas's approach to debate with the Muslims alone.
Aquinas's starting point in the De rationibus fidei was the apostle Peter's sentence: “Always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you a reason of the hope and faith that is in you. ” 370 Aquinas's basic premise was that Christian controversialists should not try to prove their faith, because faith cannot be proved. “In this regard I want to admonish you”, Aquinas wrote to the cantor of Antioch, “that in disputations with the infidels about the articles of faith you should not try to prove the faith by necessary reasons, because this would detract from the sublimity of the faith, the truth of which exceeds not only the human mind but that of the angels as well. ” 371 Christians believe in the truths of the faith because they were revealed to them by God. “Therefore, because what proceeds from the supreme truth cannot be false and because what is not false cannot be attacked by necessary reason, so our faith, which is beyond the human mind, cannot be proved by necessary reasons, nor, because of its truth, can it be proved false by necessary reasons. ” 372
This was a programmatic statement. Attacks on Christian faith could
365 Burns 1971, 1397. Cf. Dondaine 1968, B6.
366 Burns 1971, 1401.
367 Cf. Hagemann 1988, 462.
368 Pavlovic 1992, 135– 40.
369 Cf. el-Khodeiry 1988; Nader 1988; Pavlovic 1992, 107 ff. (with further references).
370 1 Pet 3.15; “and faith” is Aquinas's insert. Anselm of Canterbury had quoted the same Biblical verse in his Cur deus homo I, i.
371 De rationibus fidei 2.
not prove wrong the reason of the faith, just as Christians themselves could not prove it true. The reason of faith was not, and could not be, the subject of the dispute between Christians and Muslims. What was at issue and had to be demonstrated was, rather, the reasonableness of Christian faith. 373 Since faith cannot be grasped by the human mind, the Christian disputant's intention, according to Aquinas, should be not to prove but to defend the faith. This, Aquinas assured the cantor, was in full accord with the apostolic precept that Christians should always be ready “to give an answer” regarding their faith. 374 The Christians' task in responding to attacks on Christianity should be “to rationally show that that which the Catholic faith confesses is not false. ” 375
Aquinas's program was negative and critical. Since divine truth was beyond the reach of reason and the ultimate cognizance about God was that God was incognizable, 376 he aimed rather at using natural reason to refute objections and insults against the Christian faith. Citing Christian authorities whom unbelievers did not accept would be fruitless 377 and would take the dispute into a sphere beyond human reasoning. Natural reason, by contrast, was shared by Christians and Muslims alike. Muslims and pagans, Aquinas explained, were those among the unbelievers who “do not agree with us regarding the authority of the Scriptures, on the basis of which we could convince them, whereas against the Jews we can dispute with the help of the Old Testament, and against the heretics with the help of the New. They [Mahumetistae and pagani] certainly do not accept either [of the Testaments]. Therefore it is necessary to recur to natural reason, to which all have to assent. ” 378
Defense of the Christian faith and its mysteries should aim not at convincing adversaries by reasons but rather at removing the reasons raised against Christian truth. It should aim, that is, at “confuting errors. ” 379 Christians could be confident that they were able to refute attacks against
373 Hagemann 1988, 469.
374 De rationibus fidei 2. In the Greek text, Peter encouraged Christians to be ready to defend the faith (pròs apologían). Aquinas, O razlozima vjere, 227 n. 16. Cf. Anselm of Canterbury Cur deus homo I, i (p. 47 n. b).
375 De rationibus fidei 2.
376 See Hoye 1988.
377 De rationibus fidei 1. This position was not as self-evident as it might appear: “Immer wieder ist nämlich in der Geschichte der Auseinandersetzung zwischen Christentum und Islam versucht worden, den Koran biblisch und die Bibel koranisch zu interpretieren. Dieser Weg führt allerdings in eine Sackgasse. ” Hagemann 1988, 469. Cf. Daniel 1993, 75. 378 Summa contra gentiles I, ii,11.
379 Summa theologica II-II, Q.10, Art.7. Cf. Summa contra gentiles I, ix,52.
their faith with natural reason, because natural reason could not contradict the truth of their faith. 380 Defending the mysteries of the faith meant showing that those mysteries were not opposed to natural reason (rationi naturali non sunt opposita). 381 One would expect that the obverse of Aquinas's strictly rational argument 382 in defense of the faith would be the denial of rationality to arguments against Christianity or to those who argued against it. But some dismissive remarks aside (for example, that the Saracens were sensual people, in contrast to “every wise man”, and could not think about anything but that which belonged to flesh), 383 Aquinas did not rest his argument on insulting the Saracens. He rather looked for moral and philosophical reasons that he thought would be acceptable to them. 384 Both the Summa contra gentiles and the De rationibus fidei were remarkably unpolemical works. 385 They were, rather, works of Christian apologetics.
Aquinas's knowledge of Islam was rudimentary. 386 But since his approach to religious dispute was limited to the defense of the Christian position and did not require considerations of the Muslim creed, that was not a serious deficiency. Aquinas's arguments were so convincing that his fellow Christians believed, in the words of Dominican Ricoldo da Monte Croce, that “all objections (rationes) brought against the Catholic faith are soluble. ” 387 It is difficult to imagine that Muslims would share this assessment, but their views were not of grave importance. The paradox of both the Summa contra gentiles and the De rationibus fidei was that they were intended for non-Christians but addressed to Christians. 388 They never reached their intended readers, while their readers did not need to be convinced. Aquinas's apologetics moved firmly within the framework of Christian thinking and stayed safely at home. Aquinas was holding a monologue: “Taken away by the stream of his own theology, he cannot reach the shore on which he actually wants to land. The intended translation, or 'handing over' [Über-setzung], of the Christian faith to the Muslims thus failed. His apology is an apologia ad intra, not
380 Summa contra gentiles I, ix,52.
381 Ibid., IV, i,3348.
382 Hagemann 1988, 481.
383 De rationibus fidei 3. (On this topic, cf. Daniel 1993, 169.) A less academic language is also characteristic of Summa contra gentiles I, vi,41.
384 De rationibus fidei 1.
385 Cf. Pavlovic 1992, 106; Hagemann 1988, 480.
386 Hagemann 1988, 470–71.
387 Quoted in Daniel 1993, 209.
388 Albert Patfoort, Thomas d'Aquin (Paris, 1983), quoted in Pavlovic 1992, 104.
an apologia ad extra. ” 389 But this failure, this implosion of mission, could have become a great achievement—had Aquinas only left things at that.
But Aquinas did not opt for leaving the non-Christians alone. The relevant passage is found in the Summa theologica, in answer to the question of whether the unbelievers ought to be compelled to embrace the faith. Aquinas's position was as liberal as any true liberal might wish, but his answer was qualified. In accordance with his categorization of the “sin of unbelief”—in which he distinguished between those who resisted the faith before they had accepted it (like pagans) and those who resisted after they had received it (either “in figure”, like the Jews, or “in the very manifestation of truth”, like heretics and apostates) 390 — he argued that only heretics and apostates “should be submitted even to bodily compulsion, that they may fulfil what they have promised, and to hold what they, at one time, received. ” 391 For “[j]ust as taking a vow is a matter of will and keeping a vow is a matter of obligation, so acceptance of the faith is a matter of will, whereas keeping the faith, once one has received it, is a matter of obligation. ” 392 Among unbelievers, there are some who have never received the faith, such as Gentiles and the Jews; 393 and these are by no means to be compelled to the faith, in order that they may believe, because to believe depends on the will; nevertheless, they should be compelled by the faithful, if it be possible to do so, so that they do not hinder the faith either by blasphemies, or by evil persuasions, or even by open persecution. It is for this reason that Christ's faithful often wage war against the unbelievers, not indeed for the purpose of forcing them to believe (for even if they were to conquer them and take them prisoners, they should still leave them free to believe, if they will), but in order to prevent them from hindering Christ's faith. 394
The categorical rejection of violence in spreading the faith did not exclude waging war against the infidels. The principles Aquinas formulated for conducting religious disputes and waging religious wars are
389 Hagemann 1988, 482– 83. But see Burns 1971, 1409–12, for different views on Aquinas's “missionary motives. ”
390 Summa theologica II-II, Q. X, Art.5.
391 Ibid., II-II, Q. X, Art.8, adding that those Jews who had received the faith “ought to be compelled to keep it” as well. Cf. II-II, Q. XII, Art.2, for the specific case of an apostatic prince.
392 Ibid., II-II, Q. X, Art.8.
393 The contradiction between this statement regarding the Jews and Summa theologica II-II, Q. X, Art.5 (cf. n. 390) may be resolved with reference to Summa theologica II-II, Q. X, Art.6, that the Jews “have never accepted the Gospel faith. ”
394 Ibid., II-II, Q. X, Art.8.
homologous. Faith could be neither proved by reason nor installed by the force of arms. Christian action in either case was construed as defensive. The Christian controversialist was not to prove the reason of faith and the Christian soldier was not to compel the infidel to embrace the faith. Rather, the controversialist was to refute objections against the Christian faith, and the soldier was to prevent the unfaithful from impeding it. Because the Church had no jurisdiction over infidels who had never received the faith, 395 neither conversion nor punishment of these unfaithful could justify waging war against them. Both religious controversy and religious war were dissociated by Aquinas from the reason of faith, and both had to defend the faith against attack. As a purely defensive war, religious war was not directed against infidelity as such, but rather against its possible influence on the true faith. 396
To fully appreciate Aquinas's position, it is crucial to understand what he meant when he said that “hindering Christ's faith” by the unfaithful had to be prevented by force. He defined “hindering Christ's faith” so broadly that the defense of Christianity went on a warpath against the very existence of unbelievers. The clearest case of hindering the faith was the persecution of the faithful. In the doctrine of just war (to which Aquinas gave a new authoritative interpretation), 397 “open persecution” of Christians by unbelievers was legitimate grounds for Christians to wage war. From a legal point of view, that case was definite. But the same can hardly be said about the other two categories of hindering the faith, which Aquinas introduced as justification for war with unbelievers: “blasphemies” and “evil persuasions. ” Those categories were so extensive as to justify practically any act of war against non-Christians. Such vagueness was not inconsistent with Aquinas's views on war. For when it came to waging war against unbelievers, he a priori accepted the lawfulness of war, rather than examining the basic premises on which war could be considered just. 398 When it came to infidels, at any event, the Church had the authority to annul human law. Infidels' dominion or authority over the faithful, even where sanctioned by human law, could be “justly done away with by the sentence or ordination of the Church that has the authority of God: since unbelievers in virtue of their unbe-
395 Ibid., II-II, Q. XII, Art.2.
396 Ibid., II-II, Q. XII, Art.2.
398 Gmür 1933, 60, 75.
lief deserve to forfeit their power over the faithful who are converted into children of God. ” 399
We now need to look more closely at the “blasphemies” and “evil persuasion” that justified war with unbelievers. To medieval Christians, the very profession of “unbelief” could easily be blasphemy. Both unbelief and blasphemy were sins. 400 Because unbelief consisted in “resisting the faith”, 401 and blasphemy was “opposed to confession of faith”, 402 unbelief was inherently blasphemous. Specific aspects of the Muslim creed, like denying the Holy Trinity, the divinity of Christ, or the redemptive act of Christ's death (which Aquinas discussed in the De rationibus fidei), could only be seen as blasphemous in Christian eyes. Cardinal Cajetan, in his authoritative commentary on Summa theologica II-II, Q. X, Art. 8, described blasphemy as “saying bad things about Jesus Christ, or his saints, or his Church” and, as such, regarded it as an impediment to the faith and thus a just cause for war. 403 In a world constructed this way, “Islam's very existence, hindering as it did the spread of Christianity, could be construed as a legitimate cause for Christian warfare. ” 404 Similarly, non-Christian rites could be seen as “evil persuasions. ” The Jewish rite, even if evil, was an exception because it “prefigured the truth of the faith which we hold. ” The good that followed from this was “that our very enemies bear witness to our faith”, and for this reason the Jews were to be tolerated in the observance of their rites. 405 But the rites of non-Christians other than Jews were “neither truthful 0nor profitable” and were “by no means to be tolerated. ” If the Church had at times tolerated them, this was only because of circumstances— for example, “when unbelievers were very numerous. ” In such cases, the Church wanted “to avoid an evil, e.g., the scandal or disturbance that might ensue, or some hindrance to the salvation of those who if they were unmolested might gradually be converted to the faith. ” 406
Aquinas did not explicitly see mere infidelity as a sufficient justification for Christian war against unbelievers. But by accepting his contemporaries' view of the infidels' “intention to do evil” and by representing
399 Summa theologica II-II, Q. X, Art.10.
400 Ibid., II-II, Q. X, Arts.1, 3– 4; Q. XIII, Arts.2–3.
401 Ibid., II-II, Q. X, Art.5.
402 Ibid., II-II, Q. XIII, Art.1.
403 In Kedar 1984, app. 4, 218.
404 Ibid., 183– 84.
405 Summa theologica II-II, Q. X, Art.11.
infidels' “evil persuasions” and “blasphemies” as just cause for war, Aquinas gave “almost unlimited permission to fight infidels” and provided “justification for Christian crusade of conquest. ” 407 His ruling was elegant. Not reasons of unbelief but rather the very existence of unbelief justified war. Unbelievers represented an obstacle to the Christian faith, a hindrance that had to be removed, just as the missionary had to remove the reasons raised by infidels against Christian truth. While unbelievers' consciences were not to be violated, the unbelievers themselves could be annihilated.
ONE LANGUAGE, ONE CREED, ONE FAITH: RAMON LULL
Ramon Lull 408 was a self-taught man who after a conversion experience in his early thirties, felt called to spend the rest of his long life teaching others. His plan was ambitious. He wanted to teach the Saracens and other unbelievers the true faith and convert them to Christ's service. He traveled to North Africa to preach to the Muslims, not fearing but rather desiring a martyr's death for Christ. (That he died a martyr in Tunisia in 1316 is a legend originating in the mid-sixteenth century.) 409 Lull also wanted to convince his fellow Christians of the urgency of converting the unbelievers. He occasionally called himself a fantast, but he knew well where power lay: he found his way to kingly courts, established connections with Italian maritime republics, and ran after Popes with his different plans and projects. One plan was to establish convents where future missionaries would learn infidel languages. This project bore fruit when Lull, with King James II's support, founded a monastery in Miramar, in his native Majorca, where a small community of Franciscans began to learn Arabic. On Lull's initiative, moreover, the Council of Vienne in 1312 ordered that Arabic, Hebrew, and Chaldaic should be taught at the universities of Paris, Oxford, Bologna, and Salamanca, and at the papal court. 410 Some action seems to have been taken at the curial university and at Oxford, but nothing much appeared to have come of this order; and what did begin did not last long. 411
407 Russell 1975, 286; Jensen 1996, 187.
408 I use this common form of the name, although in today's Catalonian the name is spelled Llull. Cf. Pindl 1996, 37 n. 6.
409 Ibid., 42. For Lull's life, see Hillgarth 1971, chap. 1; and Bonner 1985a (both with numerous references).
410 See Petitio Raymundi Prima ordinatio (p. 165); Hillgarth 1971, 128.
411 Burns 1971, 1408; Hay 1977, 89 n. 2; Abulafia 1997, 98.
Lull himself learned Arabic. He wanted to study Islamic doctrine and philosophy in order to dispute with the Saracens and convert them to Christianity. His “reasonably sound” knowledge of Arabic literature and thought 412 has won him much praise by some modern historians, who consider him a candidate for the title of the father of “Oriental studies. ” 413 But Lull had more practical concerns. Bacon had considered the study of tongues mainly a maidservant of theology; for Lull, learning oriental languages, Arabic in particular, was directly related to efforts to “recover the Holy Land. ”
The story of how Lull learned and mastered Arabic is not without a moral. Lull bought himself a Moorish slave for the express purpose of learning Arabic. This master-slave relationship lasted for nine years, after which, we are told, the slave apparently blasphemed the name of Christ while Lull was away travelling. “Upon returning and finding out about it from those who heard the blasphemy, Ramon, impelled by a great zeal for the faith, hit the Saracen on the mouth, on the forehead, and on the face. ” After some time had passed, the embittered slave attacked Lull with a sword and wounded him, upon which Lull knocked him down and had him put in jail, where the Saracen hanged himself. Upon learning the news, Lull “joyfully gave thanks to God” for freeing him from making a decision about his slave's fate and “for keeping his hands innocent of the death of this Saracen. ” 414
This story is intriguing in itself. But no less intriguing is its retelling by a nineteenth-century French historian, who argued that when the slave and teacher of Arabic came to understand “the designs of the missionary” (Lull, that is), “religious fanaticism roused in him and he attempted to assassinate his pupil. ” 415 The supposed moral of the story is that Lull's “design” of peaceful persuasion represented an unbearable threat to Muslim religious fanaticism, and the slave died for trying to prevent Lull from becoming a missionary. In another interpretation a century later, the slave's death inspires Lull to become a missionary. In this retelling, the episode with the slave opens Lull's eyes to the fact that nothing could be gained by violence and that only through rational dia-
412 Bonner 1985a, 20. See, e. g., Lull Book of the Gentile IV.
413 Atiya 1938, 86. Cf. Alphandéry 1959, 250: “Lentement l' 'orientalisme' naît en Occident. ” On earlier Dominicans' promoting the study of Arabic, see Burns 1971, 1402 ff.; Smith 1988– 89, 2: 60 ff.; Abulafia 1997, 93–94; Bonner, introduction to the Book of the Gentile, 95–96.
414 Contemporary Life 11–13. Cf. Thomas le Myésier Breviculum seu parvum Electorium, plate III (Hillgarth 1971, 450–51; app.).
415 Delaville le Roulx 1886, 28–29.
logue, based on respect and friendliness, could the infidels be won over to Christianity. 416 The story of Lull's Arabic lessons is open to other interpretations as well. We can only guess what was the “blasphemy” that cost Lull's slave-teacher his life. Lull himself heard it only secondhand. For all we know, it might have been “no more than an expression of Islamic piety toward Jesus as Prophet. ” 417 But the Moor's death may suggest that the study of Arabic in the Latin West was pregnant with the annihilation of those whose language it was. The aim of western Christians in learning Arabic appears to have been to render silent those who spoke it, to reduce them to listeners. “The unsympathetic story represents a general attitude; Islam could be tolerated only in silent subjection, the only final solution was its destruction. ” 418
As a matter of principle, however, Lull loved the Saracens. It was because of that love that he worked obsessively to bring them to the path of salvation. 419 Much of that work was writing, and he wrote so profusely that today there is an academic discipline, Lullian studies, dedicated to his opus. 420 From those quarters we hear that no serious reader of Lull has not become his apologist. 421 These scholars uphold the image of a man who “violently” rejected the violent Christian approach to the Muslims and who, as a resolute opponent of the crusade, 422 opted for peaceful conversion of the unbelievers by way of rational argument. As such, Lull appears as “the first theorist and publicist of missions”— the “doctor of missions” 423 —whose life and writings were dedicated to the peaceful union of all men.
Actually, Lull did not reject the crusade because of pacifist aims. He had “a genuine and earnest desire to promote an armed crusade against the Saracens. ” 424 This juxtaposition of crusade and mission used to perplex historians, 425 but it did not trouble Lull's contemporaries. Thomas
416 Pindl 1996, 39.
417 Daniel 1975, 311. In support of this guess, see Lull Felix VIII,79 (p. 944): “Observe how Saracens believe strange things about God, … and how they say vile words about Christ and our Lady, dishonoring them and falsely blaspheming them without our doing anything about it. ”
418 Daniel 1993, 141.
419 Sugranyes de Franch 1986, 17. Cf. Hillgarth 1971, 13.
420 Bonner lists 263 titles. Lull, Selected Works, 2: 1257–1304.
421 Sugranyes de Franch 1986, 9. Cf. Delaville le Roulx 1886, 28.
422 Cf. Sugranyes de Franch 1986, 10–11.
423 Hillgarth 1971, 24. The “docteur des missions” is the title of Sugranyes de Franch's renowned book on Lull. 424 Atiya 1938, 76. Cf. Gottron 1912; Wieruszowski, “Ramon Lull et l'idée de la Cité de Dieu”, Estudis Franciscans (1935); reprint in Wieruszowski 1971.
425 Cf. Gottron 1912, 11.
le Myésier, for example, a disciple of Lull, saw “no contradiction in Lull's thought on missions and crusades. ” 426 Today, Lull is seen as an exceptional man “who ran almost the entire gamut of positions, from rejecting the crusade as essentially unchristian and extolling peaceful persuasion, through simultaneously supporting mission and crusade, to advocating the launching of a crusade against infidels who had refused to convert. ” 427
Lull's confidence in the possibility of converting the Saracens stemmed, it seems, from his own abundant self-confidence. He believed that, illuminated by God, he had written a “book, the best in the world, against the errors of unbelievers” 428 and had discovered a way of proving the Christian faith to the unfaithful, not by means of authorities, about which there could be no agreement, but “by means of demonstrative and necessary reasons. ” 429 Lull believed that the human intellect could and should understand God, “which it was created to understand. ” He also believed that the truth about Christian articles of faith could be demonstrated to people in this world. 430 This appears to be a polemical statement against the Dominican approach to mission by a man who thought highly of St. Dominic but, late in his life, entered the Franciscan Third Order. 431
While still a young man, Lull had invented a demonstrative method of proving the truth of the Christian religion and the falsity of all others. He called this method Ars (the usual scholastic translation for téhne). He developed it in a number of versions and applied it in numerous writings. 432 The Ars was based on a conception of creation as a similitude of the divine dignities. Because of the presupposed conformity of the modus intelligendi with the modus essendi, Lull's “Art of thinking” was “infallible in all spheres because it was based on the actual structure of reality, a logic which followed the true patterns of the universe. ” The Christian mysteries were part of the very structure of the universe and could therefore be “demonstrated” by “necessary reasons. ” 433 Lull's
426 Hillgarth 1971, 246.
427 Kedar 1984, 189.
428 Contemporary Life 6.
429 Book of the Gentile Prologue (p. 116).
430 Felix VIII,79 (pp. 944– 45). Cf. Felix I,12 (p. 717).
431 See text for n. 269, which is taken to be an attack on Dominican missionary Ramon Martí. Bonner 1985b, 58; id., introduction to the Book of the Gentile, 96. For Lull's appraisal of Dominic, see Felix X,121 (p. 1099).
432 See Bonner 1985b, 56 f.
433 See ibid., 59 f. The citation is from Frances Yates, The Art of Memory (London, 1966); quoted in Bonner 1985b, 61. On Lull's Neoplatonic view of the universe, see also Hillgarth 1971, 13 ff.; Pindl 1996, 42 f. For a brief presentation of Lull's “Art”, see Abulafia 1997, 96 ff.
closed system of thought was perfect in itself, and worked with the precision of a computer. 434 Lull knew the truth and he knew how to organize it mechanically so that any nontruth would be rejected. 435
Lull, a master of his own Art, always had “compelling arguments” for the Christian faith. Unfortunately, however, non-Christians might not find them convincing. 436 Lull himself reported that although he had conversed widely with eminent and scholarly Saracens, he had never met one who grasped Christian belief rightly. 437 But if his non-Christian interlocutors, real or imagined, did not find his arguments as compelling as Lull himself found them, he had in reserve another method, where “mechanization” entered religious persuasion in the form of repetition of a “mechanically” proven truth. In one of the countless stories Lull wrote about a Christian disputing with a Saracen, the Saracen was not convinced by the Christian's exposition of his articles of faith, and “wondered” about their truth. But “after the Christian had gone over these things many times he no longer experienced any wonder, for these explanations had accustomed his ears to hearing, his mind to understanding, and his will to loving them. ” 438 Lull explained that “everything a person can feel with the five bodily senses is a wonder, but because he is continually experiencing these bodily feelings, they no longer constitute a sense of wonder. The same thing happens with all the spiritual things he can remember and understand. ” 439
Lull thought that “a few days” 440 of his intense intellectual treatment would suffice to gain a convert. His plan for converting Muslim captives was of the same mold. He wanted to send learned clerics to dispute with captives and make them memorize books proving that Muhammad was not a true prophet. 441 Lull had a remedy for non-captive unbelievers as well. He envisioned that for the “Jews and Saracens who are in the lands of the Christians there be assigned certain persons to teach them Latin and to expound the Scriptures, and that within a certain time they shall learn these, and if they have not done so, that there shall follow punish-
434 Lull is actually seen as a remote forerunner of modern computer science and information theory. See Bonner 1985b, 63 f.; Sugranyes de Franch 1986, 9.
435 Cf. Alphandéry 1959, 250.
436 See Felix VIII,81 (p. 952).
437 Burns 1971, 1398.
438 Felix VIII,115 (pp. 1076–77).
439 Ibid., VIII,115 (p. 1078).
440 Contemporary Life 27.
441 Liber de fine II,6 (p. 88).
ment. ” 442 This was Lull's fantasy. But with regard to the compulsory disputations and conversionist sermons delivered by friars in the mosques and synagogues of thirteenth-century Spain, 443 Lull's ideas on this subject were far from fantastic. He suggested that the Council of Vienne order the preaching of Christianity to Jewish subjects in Spain on Saturdays and to Muslim subjects on Fridays. 444 In view of this religious coercion, practiced and wished for, one is struck by Lull's categorical statement that “free will is such a noble and lofty creation that no man can constrain another man to desire or to love by force. ” 445
Only in the Book of the Gentile, an early work by Lull, is religious dispute depicted as polite. The beliefs of the three great monotheistic religions are presented to a Gentile, who at the end refrains from declaring which he has chosen to accept as the most true. Lull later amended that surprising open-endedness 446 and claimed that the Christian succeeded in proving his religion true. 447 The Book of the Gentile was Lull's utopia of “communicative action”, a utopia Lull himself could not let be. But even in that utopia, Lull talked of “filth” in the Muslim Paradise. He pointed out, rather graphically, that “from a man who eats and drinks and lies with women there must come forth filth and corruption, which filth is an ugly thing to see and touch and smell, and to talk about. ” 448
For Lull, the contemplative life was the source of fulfillment, but the active life was a necessity. 449 Much as the purpose of man's life in this world was to remember, understand, and love God so that he might live in the next world in everlasting glory, 450 the reality was that Christians were few—and good Christians even fewer—and infidels many: “observe how many unbelievers there are, and how few Catholics; and even
442 Blanquerna 80 (p. 326); Libre de Blanquerna (p. 298).
443 Cf. Pindl 1996, 35; Abulafia 1997, 92 ff.
444 Petitio Raymundi De octava ordinatione (p. 168).
445 Felix VIII,84 (p. 962).
446 “[A]n ending most surprising in a piece of medieval polemical literature. ” Bonner, introduction to the Book of the Gentile, 98.
447 Felix VIII,79 (p. 942).
448 Book of the Gentile IV,12 (p. 291). The filth that seems to have often come to Lull's mind was that coming from beautiful women. Just as Bacon feared menstrual blood, so was Lull disturbed by beautiful women's excrement. For example: “There was once a woman who was very beautiful and who, because of this great beauty, was proud. One day, after looking at herself in the mirror and admiring her own beauty, she went off, still thinking about her beauty, to the toilet, where she saw all the ugliness that had come out of her body; then she wondered why she had ever been proud of her beauty, with such ugliness coming out of her body. ” Felix VIII,93 (p. 998–99).
449 Ibid., VIII,62 (p. 880).
450 Ibid., VIII,47 (p. 840).
among Catholics see how few there are who love to honor and exalt the faith that has been entrusted to their care. ” 451 Such a situation called for urgent action, since infidels were multiplying, taking possession of Christian lands, and blaspheming the Holy Trinity and Christ's incarnation. 452 Their possession of the Holy Land was a disgrace to heaven and a defacement to the Holy Land. 453 The infidels' very existence was a “dishonor to God”, for it showed that men could live who did not know Him and, worshiping their strange gods, felt no gratitude to Him for having had created them and kept them alive. 454
Lull's response to the existence of so many who did not praise God is surprising in a man believed to have dedicated his life to conversion of the unbelievers. He reacted to the perceived “dishonor to God” not with desire to convert the unbelievers but with a zealous determination to praise God. His zeal seems to have been spurred by a lack of fervor among his fellow Christians. Felix, the protagonist in Lull's Felix, for example, “wondered greatly at how the Christian faith was not preached among the infidels by people praising and honoring it so nobly that they would not hesitate to honor it in spite of hardships, danger, death, or anything else; since for the sake of great honor there should be little hesitation in such things. ” 455 This comment introduced a story about a minstrel who wished to go overseas to “honor the faith”, but whose prelate was unwilling to grant him permission to leave because he feared the minstrel would die fruitlessly. “The minstrel replied, saying that the fruit consisted more in praising and honoring God than in saving and converting men, for praising and honoring God and the faith is nobler than converting men. ” 456 This thought was repeated later in the same book, where we read that “man was created for the purpose of praising God, and therefore I cannot shrink from going to praise God out of fear of death, or because it might not bring something useful to man. ” 457 And in another book, the Blanquerna, the hero wanted to comfort Lady Faith, who was sad in her soul because among the Saracens God was not loved, honored, or believed. She wanted to convert the infidels. Lull's hero comforted her, saying that desiring the conversion of unbelievers is
451 Ibid., VIII,63 (p. 886).
452 Cf. Liber de fine Prologue (p. 65).
453 Cf. ibid.; Felix VIII,63 (p. 886).
454 Ibid., VIII,102 (p. 1033).
455 Ibid., VIII,63 (p. 885).
456 Ibid., VIII,63 (p. 886).
457 Ibid., VIII,86 (p. 970).
a merit as great as their actual conversion. 458 Not by their fruits, but by their desires, are true Christians known.
That zeal for praising God prompted Lull to sail to Bidjaya (in today's Tunisia) on what is mistakenly called a mission (if a mission aims to convert the infidel). Upon landing, his biography tells us, he went to the main square and “standing up and shouting in a loud voice, burst out with the following words: 'The Christian religion is true, holy, and acceptable to God; the Saracen religion, however, is false and full of error, and this I am prepared to prove.'” 459 This kind of “fanatic confrontation” has been called a typical Franciscan technique of spreading the faith. 460 (It is recorded, for example, that in the mid-fourteenth century a Franciscan provoked his own death by crying out against Islam—in French—during the sultan's Friday prayer in a Cairo mosque.) 461 If “invasions” like this pass for defense of the Christian faith, 462 then military aggression like the Crusades can also be called a defensive war. Lull himself suggested that “barking” was a more fitting description of this kind of “mission. ”
Lull compared a Christian protecting the faith to a good shepherd dog. Again in Felix, the protagonist came to a field where a wolf had entered a sheepfold and was killing and devouring the sheep. The shepherd lay in his hut nearby, not wanting to get up because it was rainy and cold. Not far away, his dog was fighting another wolf and was barking loudly for the shepherd to come and help him. Felix wondered at this scene and told the shepherd some hard things: “Christ entrusted the care of the world to the Pope, the cardinals, and to the prelates of the holy Church. Christians who are near infidels bark so that the Pope and holy men may come running to destroy all errors against the holy Christian faith. I feel sorrow and pity for the sheep I see killed by the wolf, as well as for the dog fighting with no one to help him. What a wonder it is that the dog, who lacks the use of reason, understands and carries out the task entrusted to him, whereas you, who are shepherd, do not carry out the task entrusted to you. ” 463
Lull was not a Dominican, but he was a Domini canis, a hound of the
458 “Deus sab que vos, Fe, havets fet vostre poder en voler convertir los infeels …, e es aytàn gran vostre mérit com si vos havíets convertits los infeel que tant desirats convertir. ” Libre de Blanquerna 43 (p. 141). 459 Contemporary Life 36.
460 Burns 1971, 1395.
461 Luttrell 1965, 125.
462 Daniel 1993, 141.
463 Felix VIII, prologue (pp. 826–27).
Lord, barking loud and indefatigably. And he had a clearer idea than the Christian authorities themselves about the task they and the faithful should be carrying out. Because God had placed the faith for safekeeping in the hands of the Pope, cardinals, prelates, and other churchmen, they should “keep it and defend it against the disbelief of Jews, Saracens, heretics, and unbelievers, who are continually trying to destroy the Roman faith. ” For Lull, there was no question about what was to be done: “Christian laymen should guard and maintain the faith by force of arms, and churchmen should maintain it by force of reason and Scriptures, of prayers and of holy life. ” Shedding tears that never dried, Felix sighed: “Ah, Lord God, in what a state of dishonor lies the holy Christian faith, for the defense and exaltation of which You willed to be man and to deliver that man unto death! And the Saracens, who are sons of disbelief, hold and possess that Holy Land beyond the sea where the faith was founded and given in charge of the holy Church! Ah, Lord God, when will the day come that combatants, lovers, and praisers will set out, using physical and spiritual arms, to bring honor to the faith and destroy the error by which faith is put to such shame in this world?” 464
Lull sometimes argued that “intellectual war” carried out by “the arms of devotion and desire of martyrdom” might be more efficient than “sensual war” waged by “arms of iron. ” 465 He said that peaceful discussions were “a much more effective war. ” 466 But this does not mean that he advocated the mission in one phase of his life to advocate the crusade in another, as some historians have maintained. He knew that the Church had two swords. 467 Peaceful persuasion and war were not alternatives. He knew how to tailor his arguments for particular projects according to his audience. But his grand project was one and unchangeable. Mission was not, as has been argued, the end to which crusade served as the means. 468 Both crusade and mission were means to the same end. War by peace or war by war were to be used according to expedience. Most often it seemed most expedient to use them both to attain the desired end. 469
464 Ibid., VIII,63 (p. 884).
465 Liber contra Antichristum; quoted in Hillgarth 1971, 245.
466 Contemplationes in Deum; summarized in Gottron 1912, 20.
467 Liber de fine De divisione huius libri (p. 69); Disputatio clerici et Raymundi phantastici; quoted in Wieruszowski 1971, 151.
468 Hillgarth 1971, 50.
469 Cf. Gottron 1912; Atiya 1938, chap. 4; Wieruszowski, “Ramon Lulle” (in id. 1971); Hillgarth 1971, chap. 1–2; Bonner 1985a; Kedar 1988, 189–99.
The end toward which both Lull's contemplative life and his active life were directed was peace in this world. Not surprisingly, this ideal appears in Lull's “most important” crusading treatise, the Liber de fine. 470 The ideal of peace rested on the idea of unity, and unity was seen as a state in which “difference” and “contrariety” were eliminated and “concordance” reigned. Such an order would reflect divine unity. The dissimilarities and disagreements that caused peoples to be “enemies with one another and to be at war, killing one another and falling captive to one another”, were “difference or contrariety of faith or custom. ” From this followed the ideal solution: “For just as we have one God, one Creator, one Lord, we should also have one faith, one religion, one sect, one manner of loving and honoring God. ” 471 In a later work, Lull depicted the diversity of tongues as another cause for war among men. He wanted to “destroy the diversity of languages” 472 and reduce all existing languages to one. 473 Consequently, he had to figure out by means of which language all men “might be brought together, that they might have understanding, and love one another, and agree in the service of God. ” 474 Because the linguistic question was linked to the service of God, Lull's choice was not difficult. He chose Latin, because “Latin is the most general tongue … and in Latin are all our books. ” 475 And because God had given to the Papacy the power “for the ordering of the world”, 476 the Pope as the ruler of Lull's ideal one and indivisible world had to ensure that all men learn Latin. This would bring to pass a world in which there was but one language, one belief, and one faith. 477 For Lull there was no doubt that the one God to be loved and known by the whole world was the Christian God, 478 and that the whole world should be given over to Christianity. 479 This would bring about “the greatest good possible in the world” and would be the work of the greatest wisdom, for “the greatest wisdom consists in trying to get the entire world
470 Liber de fine III (p. 93); Hillgarth 1971, 65.
471 Book of the Gentile epilogue (pp. 301–2).
472 Libre de Blanquerna 94 (p. 364).
473 Ibid., 94 (p. 365).
474 Ibid., 94 (p. 364); Blanquerna (p. 396).
475 Libre de Blanquerna 94 (p. 364); Blanquerna (p. 396).
476 Blanquerna 78 (p. 314). For Lull's utopian papal world order, see ibid., 80, 88 (pp. 325, 373 ff.).
477 “[C]om en tot lo mon no sia mas un lenguatge, una creença, una fe. ” Libre de Blanquerna 94 (p. 364).
478 Felix VIII,44 (p. 836)
479 Ibid., VIII,89 (p. 982). Cf. Gibert 1962, 146: “el fin era reducir el mundo a la paz en la unidad de la fe romana con el poder de las dos espadas. ”
beneath a single faith, believing what the Christians believe. ” 480 Lull's basic conviction was that the Christians were “in the way of truth. ” 481
A plurality of gods and religions was generally at odds with the structure of the universe. But when Lull spoke more concretely, it was the existence of Muslims that appeared as the greatest obstacle to peaceful unity. 482 It was the Saracens who impeded the universe (ipsi sunt qui impediunt universum). 483 Their existence was a defect in its structure. Since order meant understanding and loving God, the Saracens were an element of disorder. 484 Their “disbelief” was disobedience to God. 485 They were the embodiment of falsehood against truth. 486 They were injustice materialized, since they contradicted God's justice. 487 Last but not least, they were an offence to the beauty that is in God, for “it is a very ugly thing that the Saracens hold and possess the Holy Land where Jesus Christ was born and died. ” 488
Given Lull's mental constellation, nothing important would change even if the Muslims were at peace with the Christians. The Christians could not be at peace with those who, simply by their existence, were disturbing the unity of universe in God which is peace. We should take Lull seriously when he writes about making peace between Christian kings so they can go on a crusade. 489 But we cannot take him at his word when he speaks about peace between the Christians and Saracens. 490 In his universe, peace is only imaginable among Christians, and universal peace presupposes universal Christian rule. Peace between the Christians and the Saracens could only be genuine if the Saracens ceased to be Muslims and became Christians. This same principle applied to all infidels. The logic of Lull's peace was spelled out very clearly in the Blanquerna. The hero, Blanquerna, was a bishop who desired to act as peacemaker (volc haver lufici de pacificar). The Jews once complained to him because the Christians, on the eve of the Passover, had stoned and
480 Felix VIII,67 (p. 900). On bonum publicum et communem, cf. Liber de fine III (pp. 92–93); Wieruszowski 1971, 157.
481 Blanquerna 77 (p. 307).
482 Cf. Hillgarth 1971, 12.
483 De loqutione angelorum (quoted in Gottron 1912, 50 n. 5).
484 See Felix VIII,82 (p. 956).
485 See ibid., VIII,81 (p. 954).
486 See ibid., VIII,79 (p. 941).
487 See ibid., VIII,66 (p. 894).
488 Ibid., VIII,93 (p. 999). This statement immediately followed Lull's reflections on the ugliness of a beautiful woman's excrement. See n. 448.
489 Blanquerna 81 (p. 334).
490 Cf. De participatione Christianorum et Saracenorum, 171.
wounded two of their number. “Long did the Bishop think upon the complaints which the Jews had made concerning the Christians, and he reflected that if Christians and Jews held one belief, the ill-will and strife that was among them would cease; wherefore the Bishop went every Sabbath to the Synagogue to preach and hold discussion with the Jews, to the end that they might become Christians, and praise and bless Jesus Christ, and be at peace with the Christians. ” 491
Because the Saracens were the worst among the non-Christians, only if there were peace between Christians and Saracens would there be peace in the world. 492 The precondition stood: the Saracens must renounce their disbelief and embrace Christianity. Lull's peace was Christian peace, a peace that implied waging and winning war—spiritual or material (but most likely spiritual and material) war—against the Muslims and other unbelievers, including heretic and schismatic Christians. 493 It was pax Christiana, described in the Blanquerna as “a society of nations presided over by the Papacy. ” 494 Peace was to be obtained by bringing the world back to the divine order by whatever means necessary: peace was the transformation of the world into the City of God. 495
Lull longed for the presence of people like St. Bernard in his own time. 496 One Lullian scholar, however, has seen St. Bernard risen from the dead in Lull. When Lull preached the crusade in Pisa in 1308—proposing the founding of a new order, the Order of Christian Religious Knights that would devote itself to “doing continual battle against the treacherous Saracens for the recovery of the Holy Land” 497 —he was so successful that, to this scholar, he appears “almost a St. Bernard redivivus. ” 498 But the age of St. Bernard had passed. Bernard had praised the Templars, the model Christian knighthood. But the Templars were destroyed during Lull's lifetime—not by the enemies of the cross, but by the most Christian king, King Philip IV of France. Even as Lull preached in Pisa, the Templars had been accused of heresy, and members of the order had
491 Blanquerna 75 (p. 296).
492 De participatione, 171.
493 In the Liber de acquisitione terrae sanctae, Lull advocated Latin conquest of Constantinople. Gottron 1912, 40; Hillgarth 1971, 84.
494 Thus characterized by Hillgarth 1971, 41. Cf. Gottron 1912, 9 f. See also Pindl 1996, 40, for whom some aspects of Lull's utopian world peace are reminiscent of the United Nations General Assembly.
495 See Wieruszowski 1971, 152, 159.
496 Felix X,121 (p. 1099).
497 Contemporary Life 42.
498 Hillgarth 1971, 100.
been arrested by Philip's agents. In the year 1310, fifty-four Templars, accused of being relapsed heretics, were burned at the stake near Paris. At the Council of Vienne (1311–12), the Pope gave in to the pressure from the French monarch and abolished the Order of the Temple. In 1314, James of Molay, the last Master General of Bernard's milites Christi, was executed. 499
Lull did not defend the Templars, even though he was personally indebted to their leader. During his travels to Cyprus, Lull had fallen ill and been “cheerfully received” by James of Molay, who took Lull into his house until he recovered. 500 What exactly Lull thought of the accusations against his former host and his knights is difficult to know. He may have “allowed himself to be convinced of the Templars' guilt. ” 501 What is known, however, is that precisely in the years when the Templars came under attack, Lull accepted the “Oriental policy” of the French. 502 An element of that policy, advocated by Philip IV, was the unification of the Christian military orders. That policy had been one of Lull's ideas even before he placed his hopes in the French king. 503 But we do not need to place too much weight on ideas. Lull may have called himself a fantast, but he was realist enough to know that Realpolitik was the politics that shaped reality. He wanted to shape reality himself and was convinced that “what I say is possible, it has to happen, and will bring abundant fruit. ” 504 But for that he needed support. Lull may have lived in his own world, but he saw that in the outer world the future lay in the type of power successfully asserted first by the French kingdom.
For two centuries the Templars had “appeared to be an integral part of the body politic of Latin Christendom, indispensable in the fight against the infidel, in the servicing of the Crusades, and in financing Popes and monarchs. ” 505 The Templars' destruction indicates a significant change in the Christian “body politic. ” War against the infidel continued to be of central importance. But it was to be carried out differently.
499 See Barber 1993; 1995, chap. 8.
500 Contemporary Life 35.
501 Barber 1995, 309.
502 See Hillgarth 1971, 85– 86.
503 See, e.g., Blanquerna 88 (p. 327). Cf. Hillgarth 1971, 71; Barber 1995, 284– 85; Pindl 1996, 40– 41. Some twenty years after he had first conceived the idea, Lull pressed for its acceptance at the Council of Vienne: “that of all the Christian military religious orders a single order be made, one that would maintain continual warfare overseas against the Saracens until the Holy Land had been reconquered. ” Contemporary Life 44; Petitio Raymundi De secunda ordinatione (pp. 165– 66). 504 Disputatio clerici et Raymundi phantastici prologue; trans. in Gottron 1912, 96.
505 Barber 1995, 280.
THE FALL OF THE PAPAL MONARCHY
and the Rise of Territorial Power
The Papal monarchy sank with its banners flying high. Pope Boniface VIII's opening words in his famous bull of 1302, the Unam sanctam, do not lack confidence: “That there is one holy, Catholic and apostolic church we are bound to believe and to hold, our faith urging us, and this we do firmly believe and simply confess; and that outside this church there is no salvation or remission of sins. ” The bull was a clear statement of papal monarchism. Firstly, the one and unitary church was monarchical in structure: “there is one body and one head of this one and only church, not two heads as though it were a monster. ” And secondly, because there was, according to the Gospel of John, one shepherd and one sheepfold, the one head of the one Church held supreme power in this world. Temporal power was subordinated to the Pope. “We are taught by the words of the Gospel that in this church and in her power there are two swords, a spiritual and a temporal one”, wrote Boniface. “Certainly anyone who denies that the temporal sword is in the power of Peter has not paid heed to the words of the Lord when he said, 'Put up thy sword into its sheath' (Jn 18.11; cf. Mt 26.52). Both then are in the power of the church, the material sword and the spiritual. But the one is exercised for the church, the other by the church, the one by the hand of the priest, the other by the hand of kings and soldiers, though at the will and suffrance of the priest. One sword ought to be under the other and the temporal authority subject to the spiritual power. ” 1
1 Mirbt and Aland, Quellen, no. 748; trans. in Tierney 1988, 188– 89.
Boniface was resolute when he proclaimed that there was no one on earth who could judge the Pope. “Therefore, if the earthly power errs, it shall be judged by the spiritual power, if a lesser spiritual power errs it shall be judged by its superior, but if the supreme spiritual power errs it can be judged only by God not by man. ” The power given to the apostle Peter, whose successors were the Popes, was divine. Those opposing the papal doctrine of power were accused of heresy. The accusation must have sounded ominous to those for whom Innocent III's anti-Manichaean crusades had set a model for dealing with the heretics. “Whoever therefore resists this power so ordained by God resists the ordinance of God unless, like Manichaeans, he imagines that there are two beginnings, which we judge to be false and heretical, as Moses witnesses, for not 'in the beginnings' but 'in the beginning' God created heaven and earth (Gen 1.1). Therefore we declare, state, define, and pronounce that it is altogether necessary to salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff. ” 2
This final, dogmatic statement was most probably inspired by Aquinas. 3 But Boniface changed the context, for Aquinas had not written those words when discussing the relation between spiritual and temporal powers, 4 while the Unam sanctam was concerned precisely with this relationship. The bull was a declaration of fundamental principles regarding what the papal monarchists considered the right relationship between the two powers. It summed up arguments in favor of papal supremacy that had been articulated over the preceding two centuries. 5 In this respect, the bull contained nothing new. 6 Moreover, Boniface's language in the bull, as well as the claims he made, was guarded and moderate in comparison to the writings of contemporary curial polemicists. 7
Boniface, whose views of the Church's authority did not go beyond the earlier views of Innocent III and Innocent IV, 8 did not explicitly claim direct power in temporal affairs. Moreover, he categorically denied that he could ever have entertained “such a fatuous and foolish
2 Unam sanctam (Tierney 1988, 189).
3 Ullmann 1965, 115, 185; Tierney 1988, 182; Canning 1996, 139. See Aquinas Contra errores Graec. II,38.
4 Aquinas Contra errores Graec. II,32–38.
5 Cf. Rivière 1926, 405–23; Ullmann 1965, 114; Watt 1988, 374, 401; Canning 1996, 139.
6 McIlwain 1932, 246; Canning 1996, 139.
7 Carlyle and Carlyle 1903–36, 5: 393; McIlwain 1932, 247; Morrall 1971, 86.
8 Cf. McIlwain 1932, 247; Dyson 1995, vi, xiv.
opinion” and that he had ever wished “to usurp the jurisdiction of the king in any way. ” 9 He was trained in canon law and presumably knew what he was talking about. But canonists had made arguments for papal power much stronger than the one he proposed in the Unam sanctam, 10 as had publicists directly supporting him. An anonymous writer commenting on one of Boniface's earlier bulls (the Clericis laicos) asserted that the laymen who said that the Pope had no power over temporal matters were on the brink of slipping into heresy, and that disputing papal judgments or regulations was sacrilegious. 11 Henry of Cremona, in his De potestate papae, set out to refute the opinion of those who said the Pope did not have universal jurisdiction in temporal matters 12 and to prove the opposite. Because Christ was the Lord in temporal things and had transferred his dominion to Peter, the Pope as Peter's successor was lord in all things (in omnibus dominatur). 13 For Arnald of Villanova, the Roman pontiff was Christ on earth (Christum in terris), whereas those seeking to belittle the authority of the Apostolic See were the Antichrist's precursors. 14
The two most impressive statements of the fullness of papal power were Giles of Rome's On Ecclesiastical Power and James of Viterbo's On Christian Government. The former, completed in 1302, has been considered a source for the construction of the Unam sanctam. 15 On Christian Government may also have been written before the publication of that bull, and James's considerations on the one, catholic, holy, and apostolic Church may have been either a commentary on or an inspiration for the opening words of the Unam sanctam. 16 Both treatises, composed by eminent theologians and dedicated to Boniface VIII, argued that the Pope had supreme jurisdiction in spiritual and temporal matters alike, and that secular princes were in all respects subject to his judgment. 17
Giles of Rome is best known for his theory of lordship. He argued that
10 McIlwain 1932, 246.
11 The fragment published in Scholz 1903, 479.
12 Ibid., 459.
13 Ibid., 462.
14 Mirbt and Aland, Quellen, no. 747.
15 Ozment 1980, 147 (calling Giles the ghost writer of the Unam sanctam); Canning 1996, 142.
16 See On Christian Government I, iii–vi; Dyson 1995, xvi–xvii.
17 For summaries of and judgments on these two works, cf. Scholz 1903; Carlyle and Carlyle 1903–36, 5: 402 ff.; McIlwain 1932, 248 ff.; Dyson 1986, 1995; Canning 1996, 142 ff.
9 Address to the ambassadors of the French Estates, June 1302 (Tierney 1988, 187).
no earthly power could be justly held unless it was appointed through ecclesiastical power and served spiritual power as its superior. 18 He also argued that there could be no lordship with justice (dominium cum iustitia) over either temporal things or lay persons “except under the Church and as instituted through the Church. ” For he who is carnally generated of a father could not be “lord of anything or … possess anything with justice unless he is spiritually regenerated through the Church. 19 Since true justice was from God while sin was estrangement from God, a sinner could not have lordship with justice; and since all men were sinners, and the Church alone could reconcile them to God, just lordship could only be derived through the Church. As such, the Church was more the lord of laymen's possessions than they were themselves. 20 It was “mother and mistress of all possessions and of all temporal goods”, and had such lordship “universally and in a superior manner, whereas that of the faithful is particular and inferior. ” 21 Giles identified the Church with the Pope, who had absolute jurisdiction in temporal matters and was “without bridle and without halter”, even though—as the one who establishes the law—he was expected to observe the law. 22
For James of Viterbo, as for Giles of Rome, papal power was “without number, weight and measure. ” 23 And “while the power of the Vicar of Christ is itself without number, weight and measure, he establishes and determines the number, weight and measure of the other powers. ” 24 The Pope's fullness of power originated in the power Christ had communicated to the apostle Peter and by succession to the Popes. Christ had both priestly and royal power and was the king “not only of the heavenly and eternal, but also of a temporal and earthly kingdom. ” 25 In short, the Pope had fullness of power “because the whole of the power of government [potentia gubernativa] which has been communicated to the Church by Christ—priestly and royal, spiritual and temporal—is in the Supreme Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ. ” 26
We may see better now just how guarded were Boniface's statements.
18 Cf. On Ecclesiastical Power I, iv–v; II, v–vi.
19 Ibid., III, vii,2.
20 Ibid., II, vii,11.
21 Ibid., II, vii,13.
22 Ibid., III, vii,7.
23 On Christian Government II, ix (p. 132). Cf. Giles of Rome On Ecclesiastical Power III, xii.
24 On Christian Government II, ix (p. 132).
25 Ibid., II, i (pp. 46, 53).
26 Ibid., II, ix (p. 131).
But even though the Unam sanctam was relatively moderate and contained no new claims, it was nevertheless one of the most important documents of the Middle Ages. 27 One reason for its importance is its status as a formal papal announcement—the fact that “the Pope had chosen to make an official pronouncement of this kind. ” 28 The other reason is circumstantial: the bull was published during a dramatic conflict between the papal monarchy and the French kingdom. The Pope's statement was a moment in a bitter struggle that modern historians see as both a watershed between the high and late medieval papacies and as a great turning point in Western history in general. 29 As such, it is not surprising that the real fame of the Unam sanctam grew after the Middle Ages had already waned, especially in modern historiography. 30
POPE BONIFACE VIII AND KING PHILIP IV OF FRANCE
Boniface issued the Unam sanctam in November 1302, in a late stage of his conflict with King Philip IV of France. The conflict had begun in 1296, and concerned the king's right to tax the clergy in his realm. According to ecclesiastical law, the issue had been settled at the beginning of the thirteenth century, when the Fourth Lateran Council decreed that taxation of the clergy by the king required papal authorization. This, of course, presupposed the existence of supreme ecclesiastical jurisdiction, set above the laws of particular kingdoms, and it exempted the clergy from the direct jurisdiction of lay princes. More specifically, this rule secured the curia's upper hand in collecting money for Christendom's war against the infidels. It was precisely in the context of the crusading movement that Innocent III had laid the foundations for a papal system of taxation, “securing agreement to the notion that all benefices should be expected to contribute a percentage of their revenues to the support of the crusade. ” 31 Papal efforts to effectively collect crusading taxes led to attempts to create administrative order in the West. When, for example, under the pontificate of Gregory X (1271–76), the first truly universal tithe was levied, Christendom was divided into twenty-six collectorates. 32
27 McIlwain 1932, 245.
28 Canning 1996, 139.
29 Ibid., 137.
30 Cf. ibid., 140.
31 Oakley 1991, 47– 48. Cf. Powell 1986, chap. 5.
32 Gatto 1959, 87– 88. Cf. Riley-Smith 1992, 171, 176.
But in 1296, with their countries at war against each other, the kings of England and France, Edward I and Philip IV, bypassed ecclesiastical jurisdiction and taxed their respective churches without papal permission in order to finance their military campaigns, which were against fellow Christians. Moreover, they used the pretext of preparing for the crusade as the grounds for this tax. 33 In the eyes of many a contemporary, their war must have seemed a sinful waste of resources that could have been used for the recovery of the Holy Land. 34 The Pope in particular must have considered the war a scandal. The pontiff had to care for the safety and well-being of the Christian people, and most prominent among his offices was the role of arbiter and pacificator. He was the prince of peace, and anything connected with peace came within the compass of his authority. 35 True to his role as peacemaker, Boniface VIII set out to make peace between France and England. His duty to do so was compounded by his responsibility for the Holy Land. He urged the Christian princes to come to peace so they would be able to undertake the crusade. 36
King Philip IV, however, saw the Pope's peacemaking efforts as interference in his royal prerogatives. The legate sent by Boniface to the French court to negotiate a truce between France and England reported back that Philip had lodged a protest even before the papal letter had been read. In Philip's name, and in his presence, the legate was told that temporal rule in Philip's kingdom belonged solely to himself and to none other, that Philip neither recognized nor had any superior to himself in his kingdom, and that he would not submit to anyone in matters pertaining to temporal rule of his kingdom. 37 Boniface conceded to Philip and offered to arbitrate between Philip and Edward not as the Pope but as a private person. 38 But Boniface soon had to take a firm, principled position.
The Anglo-French war appeared especially scandalous to the Pope because of the kings' decisions to levy taxes from the clergy within their realms without his permission. Boniface may have used this issue to try to achieve peace by cutting off one of the major sources for financing the war. 39 But the importance of unauthorized taxation of the clergy tran-
33 Ozment 1980, 145.
34 Cf. Canning 1988, 346.
35 Wilks 1964, 445– 46.
36 See Heidelberger 1911, 10, cf. 14; McNamara 1973, 40; Schein 1991, 149.
37 Carlyle and Carlyle 1903–36, 5: 375; McNamara 1973, 55.
38 Carlyle and Carlyle 1903–36, 5: 376; Smalley 1965, 40.
39 Tierney 1988, 173.
scended such instrumentalist considerations. At stake was the very authority of ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Well aware of the graveness of the problem, Boniface made his case against Philip and Edward in unambiguous doctrinal language. In the bull Clericis laicos, published early in 1296, the Pope accused the two Christian kings of “a terrible abuse of secular powers” because they collected taxes from their churches without papal authorization. He furthermore threatened French and English prelates and ecclesiastical persons with excommunication if they paid anything to the kings under the pretext of any obligation “without the express leave of the said [Apostolic] see. ” 40
With the publication of the Clericis laicos the conflict between the Pope and the lay princes burst into the open. The bull cannot be regarded as a great diplomatic maneuver. Boniface may not have realized the “nature of the threat posed by the new national monarchies. ” 41 He may indeed have conducted his dispute with Philip IV with “incautious truculence” and scorned the possibility of negotiation, and by commanding the clergy of England and France to disobey their kings he may have “caused the quarrel to turn from the start upon the unadorned question of whether a king is or is not sovereign within his own realm. ” 42 But such judgments are easier for modern historians to make than they were for the historical actors themselves. Boniface and his partisans appear to have been moved to act as they did by a deep sense of ultimate reality, in the light of which factual reality was of much less significance: “True reality, the basis for procedure, is what is known to be right, not the inadequacy of the existing situation. ” 43 Inspired by righteousness, Boniface appears not to have been aware that his legate to France, instead of working for peace, was involved in efforts to secure French aid for deposing Boniface, and that he worked consistently to undermine the Pope's reputation in France and to induce quarrel between the Pope and the king. 44
Be that as it may, both kings reacted vigorously against the Pope's command to the clergy to disobey royal authority. And both kings eventually had their way. Edward I's outlawing of most of the clergy of England seems to have struck the Pope less painfully than did Philip IV's
40 Clericis laicos (Tierney 1988, 176).
41 Oakley 1991, 37.
42 Dyson 1995, vii. On Boniface, cf. Morghen 1975.
43 Wilks 1964, 418–19.
44 McNamara 1973, 42– 43.
return blow. Philip sequestered funds collected for the crusade, 45 and he deprived the papal government of essential revenue when he forbade the export of precious metals and stones and of all forms of negotiable currency. Pressured by his rivals, the powerful Colonna family of Rome, the Spiritual Franciscans (to whom he was “a new Lucifer on the papal throne, poisoning the world with his blasphemies”), 46 and the worsening financial situation, Boniface felt compelled to withdraw the provisions of the Clericis laicos. 47 In a new bull, Etsi de statu (issued in July 1297), he conceded to the French king the right to levy taxes without papal authorization “if some dangerous emergency should threaten the aforesaid king [Philip] or his successors in connection with the general or particular defence of the realm. ” Moreover, the decision to declare such a state of necessity was left to the “consciences of the aforesaid king and his successors. ” 48
Thus ended the first phase of the conflict between Philip IV and Boniface VIII. Philip provoked a new crisis, however, when in the summer of 1301 he ordered that a French bishop be arrested on charges of treason, blasphemy and heresy; put on trial; and imprisoned. 49 Such blatant violation of the canonical principle that a delinquent bishop should be tried by the Pope alone may have been a deliberate provocation, “calculated to bring about a further and decisive contest for supremacy between the French crown and the Papacy. ” 50 The Pope, of course, replied. In a new bull, Ausculta fili, he declared that “although our merits are insufficient, God has set us over kings and kingdoms, and has imposed on us the yoke of apostolic service to root up and to pull down, to waste and to destroy, to build and to plant in his name and according to his teaching. ” Having thus cited Jeremiah 1.10, Boniface warned the king in a fatherly tone: “let no one persuade you, dearest son, that you have no superior or that you are not subject to the head of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. ” The warning turned into a threat: “For he is a fool who so thinks, and whoever affirms it pertinaciously is convicted as an unbeliever and is outside the
45 Ibid., 46.
46 Jacopone da Todi The Lauds 58.
47 McNamara 1973, 58, has questioned the thesis that Boniface had surrendered: the Pope may have in fact been making “every effort to clarify a genuine misunderstanding. ” But on the other hand, in 1298, Boniface reissued the bull in the Liber sextus, a new official collection of canon law. Izbicki 1989, 180.
48 Etsi de statu (Tierney 1988, 178–79). For the bulls leading to the Etsi de statu, see McNamara 1973, 58–59.
49 See ibid., 98–111.
50 Dyson 1995, x.
fold of the good shepherd. ” Boniface listed a number of Philip's alleged transgressions and asserted the principle that “no power over clerics or ecclesiastical persons is conceded to laymen. ” 51
This Papal letter, it is said, was burnt by the king. Whether the story is true or not, the bull was suppressed and a forgery, Deum time, drafted and circulated in its place by royal agents. In the forged document—a “disrespectful parody”, a “grossly misleading simplification” 52 —Boniface was made to say to the king: “We want you to know that you are subject to us in spiritualities and temporalities. ” 53 The royalist propagandists did not have to work hard to respond to the Boniface they had themselves created: the claim to absolute sovereignty in temporal matters could be supported by no law or custom. 54 In a spurious letter to the Pope, Philip replied: “Let your great fatuity know that in temporalities we are subject to no-one. ” This undiplomatic opening to the letter was matched by the ending: “All who think otherwise we hold for fools and madmen. ” 55
The letter's argument is less impressive than its tone. But Philip IV seems not to have relied primarily on arguments. It is true that he commissioned the University of Paris to comment on the fabricated assertion from the Deum time that the king was subject to the Pope tam in spiritualibus quam in temporalibus. 56 The university may indeed have “commanded the sovereign's utmost respect”, but it is also true that it was integrated into the king's power apparatus, loyal to the crown, and mindful of the royal favors it received. 57 We may wonder whether the king— even though reputed a “highly educated” man by his contemporaries 58 — was really interested in hearing learned opinion on the issue or simply wanted to demonstrate to the Pope that the university was under royal sway. For he did not leave matters to intellectuals or waste time arguing. His maneuvering against the Pope was firmly grounded in power politics.
In the Ausculta fili, Boniface VIII had informed the king that he was convoking a council to be held in Rome in November 1302. He sum-
51 Ausculta fili (Tierney 1988, 185– 86). Cf. McNamara 1973, 112–13; Dyson 1995, x–xi.
52 McNamara 1973, 113; Waley 1985, 53.
53 Deum time (Tierney 1988, 187).
54 McNamara 1973, 114.
55 Sciat tua maxima fatuitas (Tierney 1988, 187).
56 “Assavoir se le pape est seigneur de tous tant es choses espirituelles que temporelles. ” Saenger 1981, 45 (citing Miroir historial abrégé de France from a manuscript in the Bodleian Library).
57 Cf. Fawtier 1960, 219–21.
58 Spiegel 1978, 114.
moned the senior ecclesiastics of France to attend, “that we may consider the more carefully and ordain the more profitably what shall seem fitting for the reform of the above mentioned matters [that is, what to the Pope's mind was Philip's misconduct, infringing upon the Church's liberty] and for your guidance and peace and health and for the good government and prosperity of that realm. ” 59 But Philip did not feel he needed the Pope's guidance. He forbade French ecclesiastics to attend Boniface's council and summoned his own assembly, so that—as he claimed—his “prelates, barons and other faithful subjects” might advise him. He decided to fight the papal monarch not with arguments but with democracy: the assembly he organized was the first convocation of the Estates General of France. 60 In this parlement, which convened half a year earlier than Boniface's council, the king mobilized his subjects for his antipapal policy more than he consulted them about its wisdom. The argument against Boniface—that is, against the claim attributed to the Pope by the royalist propaganda—was presented by Pierre Flotte, Philip's keeper of the seal. Flotte simply restated the imputation that the Pope had pretended to be the lord of France in temporal matters and to hold the French kingdom as a fief. 61 That sufficed. Newly aware of the usefulness of “public opinion” as a basis for legitimation of power, 62 the king and his ministers generated nationwide support, both lay and clerical, for Philip's action against Boniface.
Boniface was indignant, and understandably so. He protested to the ambassadors of the Estates of France that he could never have claimed jurisdiction in French temporal affairs. 63 The College of Cardinals, to whom Philip's nobles had sent a letter castigating Boniface and refusing to acknowledge him as Pope, also wrote in response that “our lord Pope has never written to the king that he is subject to him in temporal things and that he holds the kingdom as a fief. ” 64 Boniface insisted, however, that “the king cannot deny that, like all the faithful, he is subject to us by reason of sin. ” As such, he could be deposed, like the three other kings of France who were deposed by Boniface's predecessors. If Philip “committed the same crimes as they committed or greater ones we would de-
59 Ausculta fili (Tierney 1988, 186).
60 Cf. Fawtier 1960, 224.
61 Cf. McNamara 1973, 117 f.; Dyson 1995, xii.
62 Menache 1982, 140; 1990, 165, 177. On the formation of “public opinion”, Öffentlichkeit, under Philip IV, see Wieruszowski 1933, 116 ff. Cf. Fawtier 1960, 224.
63 See n. 9.
64 Cf. McNamara 1973, 119; Dyson 1995, xii.
pose him like a servant with great grief and greater sorrow. ” 65 But these arguments and threats counted for little in France. The grip of Philip's power was firm. Less than half the French bishops attended Boniface's council in November 1302, and it was a fiasco. The Unam sanctam he published in its wake was no less ineffective. In reply, Philip sent his minister Guillame de Nogaret to Italy with a band of mercenaries to arrest the Pope and bring him to Paris to be judged for usurpation of power, heresy, and other crimes, 66 and to be deposed. Nogaret indeed arrested Boniface at Anagni but had to flee the hostile territory to save his life after holding the Pope in custody for a few days. Boniface died from the shock soon after. 67
Events moved quickly in the aftermath. The Papal court moved to French-controlled Avignon during the pontificate of Clement V. The first of a line of French Popes, Clement was often described as a weak and pliable Francophile. Some contemporaries saw him as a traitor to the church and called him the Pilate of Philip the Herod. 68 Clement soon acceded to Philip IV's demands. He repealed the Clericis laicos and denounced the Unam sanctam. In his bull Meruit he wrote that “we do not wish or intend that anything prejudicial to that king or kingdom [Philip IV and France] should arise from the declaration of our predecessor of happy memory Pope Boniface VIII, which began with the words 'Unam sanctam'; nor that the aforementioned king, kingdom and people should be any more subject to the Roman church on account of it than they were before. But everything is understood to be in the same state as it was before the said definition, both as regards the church and as regards the aforementioned king, kingdom and people. ” 69 But this annulment of
65 Address to the ambassadors of the French Estates, June 1302 (Tierney 1988, 187– 88).
66 Boniface's alleged crimes were catalogued by Nogaret, who was Flotte's successor, in March 1303 and further elaborated by Guillame of Plaisans in June 1303. Tierney 1988, 184, 190. Cf. McNamara 1973, 132. Hillgarth 1971, 123, speculates that one reason for the charge of heresy was that Boniface prevented the Inquisition from proceeding against “heretics”, probably Averroists, at the University of Paris, the purge of whom was one of Lull's obsessions in his later years. During his last stay in Paris, Lull “repeatedly invoked royal authority against heresies rife in the university. ” Hillgarth 1971, 49. Boniface incurred the opprobrium of idolatry because he ordered portraits and statues in the new naturalistic style of art. Ullmann 1977, 87.
67 Cf. an eyewitness report in Tierney 1988, 191; Dyson 1995, xv (with further references).
68 Hillgarth 1971, 62.
69 Meruit (Tierney 1988, 192). The Clericis laicos was repealed in Clement's constitution Pastoralis (1306). But Clement's predecessor, Benedict XI, had already loosened the provisions of Clericis laicos. See Izbicki 1989, 183– 84.
the Unam sanctam did not satisfy Philip. He wanted more, and he got it. Clement released Nogaret from the sentence of excommunication imposed by Boniface VIII's immediate successor, Benedict XI, for his actions at Anagni. Clement also assented to the suppression of the Templars, the confiscation of their property, 70 and the burning of a number of them at the stake. Finally, in April 1311, he commended Philip IV for his dealings with Boniface. He pronounced with apostolic authority that the king and his men “were and are guiltless of malicious accusation and that they acted out of an estimable, just and sincere zeal and from the fervor of their Catholic faith. ” 71 Four months later, the bull Rex gloriae virtutum ordered the deletion from the registers of the Papal Chancery all matter that could be injurious to the king of France. Philip's action against Boniface was once more declared “good, sincere and just”, and the king “absolutely innocent and without fault. ” 72
The French king had triumphed. Even after Clement V had gradually recovered a degree of Papal power, 73 Philip presided with him over a solemn session of the Council of Vienne (1311–12). This ostentatious joint appearance at the last great medieval Church council was meant to symbolize the healing of the rift between the French kingdom and the Papacy. It certainly showed that the two powers needed each other. The maintenance of harmonious relations with the French crown had been the cornerstone of papal diplomacy throughout the thirteenth century, until the clash between Boniface VIII and Philip IV. 74 Two major objectives the Roman curia shared with the French court were the suppression of heresy and the promotion of crusade. 75 Not surprisingly, both objectives were on the agenda at the Council of Vienne: the ceremonial dissolution of the “heretical” Order of the Temple and the promulgation of a new crusade. But many contemporaries remained unconvinced of the Templars' guilt. Some believed that Philip had forced the new Pope to destroy the Templars “in hope of extracting great sums of money from them. ” 76 As a matter of fact, the Templars' wealth passed into the hands of the Papacy. But money was needed for the crusade, and on this account, Philip succeeded in securing for himself more finances. This was easy, since the
70 Vox in excelso (Mirbt and Aland, Quellen, no. 749). Cf. Barber 1993, 228–29.
71 In Tierney 1988, 192.
72 Fawtier 1960, 95.
73 See Fasolt 1991, especially 287 ff. Cf. Hillgarth 1971, 62.
74 See Oakley 1991, 32 f.
75 Watt 1988, 399.
76 Giovanni Villani Cronica; quoted in Barber 1993, 230.
bull of suppression of the Templars, Vox in excelso, declared that “goods of this order” were to be used “for the honour of God and the exaltation of the Christian faith and the prospering state of the Holy Land. ” 77 In accord with this declaration, as an eyewitness reported, “a tenth from the universal Church was granted for six years to the King of the French; so that at the end of six years he could go personally to the Holy Land. ” But, if we are to believe this report, the Church fathers at Vienne were not enthusiastic about this, for “the holy council neither consent[ed] nor expressly contradict[ed]” the grant. 78
The collaboration of the French king and the Pope at Vienne may be seen as the founding moment of the “Church of Avignon. ” 79 Even in his old age, Ramon Lull was quick to realize what was taking place. He was happy to dedicate his Reprobatio aliquorum errorum Averrois to Philip and Clement jointly, flattering them as “the doctors of the Christian faith”, and encouraged them to use his book “to root out utterly errors against the Catholic faith. ” 80 He must have enjoyed the show that took place at Vienne. But harmony and unity between the Papacy and the French kingdom—based on a common dedication to crusading and combating heresy, and displayed in the joint chairing of the council by the Pope and the king—did not signal a comeback of the good old days. It rather signaled a new chapter in Western history. The old Christian order was becoming a thing of the past.
RESACRALIZATION OF KINGSHIP
AND THE LAW OF NECESSITY
Historians often regard the confrontation between Philip IV and Boniface VIII as a decisive turning point, marking “the end of the Middle Ages” or “the dawn of the modern era. ” 81 That confrontation appears less dramatic and the suggested break between two eras less abrupt when we trace the beginning of the deterioration of the papal monarchy back to the later thirteenth century. Without those preceding developments, “the humiliation of Boniface VIII would have been inconceivable. ” 82
77 Vox in excelso; quoted in Barber 1993, 229.
78 Chronicon Domini Walteri de Hemingburgh; quoted in Barber 1993, 229.
79 Fasolt 1991, 289.
80 Hillgarth 1971, 114.
81 For these dramatic characterizations, see Arquillière 1934, 489; 1939, 163. Cf. Rivière 1926, 371, on “l'avènement des temps modernes”; Lagarde 1956, 189, on “l'introduction aux temps modernes. ”
82 Cf. Oakley 1991, 27, 32.
The same applies to the triumph of Philip IV: it is to be seen against the gradual strengthening of territorial—or national—kingdoms, against the rise of reges provinciarum (as Frederick I's chancellor called them). 83 But the conflict between Philip and Boniface still stands out as a critical moment. Its special significance, a number of historians agree, lies in the sphere of the relationship between Church and “state. ” The prevalent view continues to be that this was “the first medieval conflict of church and state which can properly be described as a dispute over national sovereignty. ” 84 According to this interpretation, in the course of the conflict the advocates of royal power successfully advanced “the fundamental claims of the modern state confronting religious society: sovereignty over property and persons, exclusive exercise of justice, absolute autonomy of legislation, even … control over the spiritual life of the nation. ” 85 Occasional reservations notwithstanding—such as, for example, that France at the time was “indeed still far from being a centralized nation state in the modern sense” 86 —historiography has been inclined to mark this conflict as the moment where “national sovereignty” and the “modern state” (or, at least, the modern concept of state) emerged. 87
But only a modern historian could write that “by 1300 it was evident that the dominant political form in western Europe was going to be the sovereign state. ” 88 That was not evident at all to Boniface VIII, Philip IV, and their contemporaries—even the most radical among them. They knew nothing of the “sovereign state. ” The concept did not exist in the political language of the period, and “no political writer before the middle of the sixteenth century used the word 'State' in anything closely resembling our modern sense. ” 89 Arguing that “sovereignty existed in fact long before it could be described in theory” and on this basis be-
83 Morghen 1975, 21.
84 Tierney 1988, 172.
85 Lagarde 1956, 210.
86 Tierney 1988, 172.
87 E.g., Scholz 1903, 445; Rivière 1926, 370; McIlwain 1932, 270; Wieruszowski 1933, 155; Arquillière 1934, 491; Lagarde 1956, 191, 198 ff.; Ullmann 1965, 199; 1977, 131 f.; Strayer 1970; 1971, 319; Canning 1988, 346. For a less-than-flattering post–World War II characterization of Philip IV as “the earliest forerunner of modern totalitarian nationalism”, see Ladner 1983, 514. A cursory survey of different historians' positions can be found in Fell 1991, chap. 11, and especially 340 ff.
88 Strayer 1970, 57. Strayer, it seems, was true to “Wilsonian progressivism”, whose prominent representative in historiography he was. Cantor 1991, 245 ff. Cf. Spiegel 1997, 67.
89 Quaritsch 1970; Shennan 1974; Skinner 1978, 1: xxiii; 1989; Fell 1991, especially chap. 3.
moaning “the inadequacy of the European political vocabulary of early periods” 90 is a strange way of acknowledging that the conflict between the Pope and the French king at the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries was, after all, not a struggle for or against the sovereign state. The “inadequacy” lies not in the political vocabulary of the period, but rather, in describing that conflict in terms imported from the modern era. To style the apologists of royal power who flourished around Philip IV as harbingers of modern ideas of sovereignty and the state is anachronistic. 91 And defending the use of anachronisms through fear of the “great explanatory problems” and “ugly jargon” that “terminological purism” (that is, insisting that one cannot adequately describe past institutions with modern terminology) is expected to create 92 fails to convince. We need to address precisely the “explanatory problems” hidden behind these anachronisms, which were first fashioned by nineteenthcentury historiography, were restated in standard works on the PhilipBoniface dispute from the beginning of the twentieth century, and have passed more or less unchallenged into more recent histories of political thought. 93
Historians have “often exaggerated the importance of church-state conflicts in French political theory, 1260–1303. ” 94 Moreover, their description of those conflicts as conflicts between Church and “state” is a misnomer. The confrontation between Philip IV and Boniface VIII in particular is better understood as a conflict due to the characteristic medieval overlapping of secular and spiritual jurisdictions. 95 One has to be careful not to regard the kingdom as standing for pure secular jurisdiction or to consider the royal victory over the Pope as resulting in a “secular state. ” Philip IV's successful confrontation with the Pope has sometimes been presented as triumphant secularism, based on what historians advancing such an interpretation call the “statism” of “worldly tracts” written in support of the king and arguing for lay “sovereignty” in the “national kingdom. ” 96 But the outcome of the confrontation between
90 Strayer 1970, 9. On page 22, however, Strayer speaks of the “invention of the concept of the state” in precisely this historical context. Cf. Post 1964, 449, who also writes that “fact preceded the theory. ”
91 Cf. Fell 1991, 120.
92 See Pennington 1993a, 2 n. 5; 1993b, 284.
93 See Renna 1973, 677, 678 n. 27; “standard works” from the beginning of the twentieth century are, especially, Scholz 1903, and Rivière 1926.
94 Renna 1978, 310.
95 Cf. Erickson 1967, 288.
96 See, e.g., Scholz 1903, 351–52. Cf. Renna 1973, 676.
Philip IV and Boniface VIII was actually a devolution of the secular nature of temporal power, a resacralization of royal power.
The Pope's humiliation enabled the French kingdom to appropriate for itself “the glamour of the Papacy at its height. ” 97 Granted, the French king had traditionally been praised as the “most Christian” (rex christianissimus), 98 yet never had the religious character of the French monarchy been “so stressed as it was now. ” 99 It was only in the early years of Philip IV's reign that the royal house began using the term “most Christian” for propaganda purposes. Philip was the first king of France to require his subjects to address him regularly as the “most Christian king. ” 100 That was in line with the “political theology of royal bloodline” that made its appearance during Philip's reign. 101 According to this new political theology, Philip's royal blood gave him supernatural healing powers. But he was not only a “thaumaturgical king” whose touch cured scrofula. He was also believed to be in charge of cura animarum, which had traditionally been within the ecclesiastical domain. 102 He was a “theocratic ruler” par excellence. Hostile contemporaries suspected him of striving to ascend to the throne of St. Peter. 103 His flatterers called him an “elect champion of Jesus Christ”, “semi-divine” if not “wholly divine”, rex et sacerdos, and quasi semideus. 104 Praised as “the insuperable shield and support of the faith, the strong arm of the Holy Church and the firmest foundation of the whole of Christendom”, or as the murus Jerusalem, the wall of Jerusalem, Philip assumed the role of protector and tutor of both Pope and Church. 105
Not only the king, however, was venerated as sacred. The people and territory over which he ruled were beneficiaries of the resacraliza-
100 Beaune 1991, 174–75.
101 Ibid., 181.
102 Ibid., 176, 331; Kämpf 1935, 33 ff.
103 Hillgarth 1971, 125.
104 Ibid., 110–11.
105 Ibid., 109–10; Wieruszowski 1933, 146; Kämpf 1935, 45. Cf. Renna 1973, 677. Portraying the French king as the protector of Christendom, the Church, and the faith survived Philip IV. In a work written in 1387 and enormously popular “among laymen and among writers whom we may term non-academic” (Coopland 1949, 21), Honoré Bonet, for example, wrote that the kingdom of France “has always protected and still protects all Christendom, and maintains the Holy Church and the Faith in their estate. Hence the King of France is, par excellence, named, among all Catholic kings, the Very Christian King, and with good reason, for he has never left the right way. ” Bonet The Tree of Battles IV, lxxxiii.
97 Hillgarth 1971, 107.
98 On this title, see Beaune 1991, 173 ff. Cf. Kämpf 1935, 27 ff.; Hillgarth 1971, 111.
99 Hillgarth 1971, 109. For the sanctification of French kingship as linked to the cult of St. Denis, see Spiegel 1997, chap. 8, especially 160– 62.
tion process as well. Clement V's bull Rex gloriae virtutum depicted the French kingdom as the new Israel and the French as the chosen people. 106 France was Francia Deo sacra. 107 It was the land in which the “religion of the Christian priesthood” flourished best. 108 The French became the most Christian of nations—Nogaret spoke of the natio Gallicana, natio notorie christianissima. 109 Not surprisingly, it was believed that the French kingdom, “chosen and blessed by the Lord before the other kingdoms of the world”, 110 had been given a special place in God's providential plan. 111
The outcome of the conflict between Philip and Boniface was sanctification of kingship rather than creation of a “secular state. ” The royalist propagandists were not fighting the Pope's efforts to subject the king to himself in temporal matters—much as it was expedient for them to impute such pretensions to the Pope. The struggle was about establishing the king's direct relationship with and access to God. It did not cross the minds of those alleged “secularists” to question, let alone do away with, the divine sanction of kingship. What they wanted to remove was the mediating role of the Church in conferring divine grace on the king. Their task was to “keep kingship sanctified while circumventing the intermediary of the clerical church. ” 112 The special relationship of the French king and the French people with God, it was argued, excluded on principle the need for any mediator. 113 Royalist apologists cast the French king as a typus Dei. They identified him with the priest-kings of the Old Testament, who had safeguarded the chosen people and castigated the priests. These apologists likened the king to God rather than to Christ (in order to undermine the possible claim of the Church, the bride of Christ, to dispensing grace). The ideal king they constructed was “less a king by grace than a king by his similarity to God and prophets of the Old Testament. ” 114
Asa Rex-Sacerdos, Philip IV was not only head of the realm; he became
106 “[R]egnum Francie in peculiarem populum electum a Domino. ” Quoted in Hillgarth 1971, 120. Cf. Kantorowicz 1957, 237–38 (on Francia as the home of a new chosen people); Wilks 1964, 430; Strayer, “France: The Holy Land, the Chosen People, and the Most Christian King”, in Strayer 1971, especially 309 (on France as a “holy land”).
107 Kantorowicz 1951, 480.
108 John of Paris On Royal and Papal Power V (p. 95).
109 Hillgarth 1971, 110.
110 M. Barber 1982, 22 (citing the royal minister de Plaisians).
111 Wieruszowski 1933, 146.
112 Renna 1973, 680 n. 42.
113 Wieruszowski 1933, 149–50.
114 Renna 1973, 683.
head of the church within his realm as well. Moreover, the realm itself was transformed into the church, to which belonged laymen as well as clergy. 115 Royal polemicists played with the double meaning of church, understood “narrowly” as “the clerical community” and “in the general sense” as “the community of the faithful. ” 116 They benefited from exploiting this distinction while at the same time obscuring it. The Church as a clerical body was not to judge things “outside her”; but because “people are part of the Church”, the spiritual sphere was open to temporal jurisdiction. Clerical property, for example, could most justly be spent “where the people's safety is concerned. ” 117 The resort to the “general” (pre-Gregorian) meaning of church made it possible to immerse the Church as a clerical corporation into the people and incorporate it as the community of all the faithful into the realm. The Church was thus subjected to the king, who assumed omnicompetence in the religious sphere as well the temporal.
The right to tax the clergy (over which Philip and Boniface had clashed) was, at least by implication, a fundamental question of Christian order and the argument with which the king had had his way became the founding logic of the territorial kingdom. Philip, as we have seen, taxed the clergy within his kingdom because he needed money to finance his war against England. When that caused conflict with the Pope and gave rise to a lively literary production, the argument for the king's right to tax the clergy without Papal authorization was grounded in the twin concepts of necessitas and utilitas. 118 Both these concepts allowed the king to suspend existing laws and resort to the exercise of extraordinary jurisdiction. Casus necessitatis customarily referred to emergencies arising from dangers from without, such as defense of the fatherland against hostile invasion, war against political or religious enemies, and suppression of rebels and heretics. A special case of emergency was conflict with the spiritual powers, 119 a case that became prominent in the paper war accompanying the confrontation between Philip IV and Boni-
115 See ibid., 685– 86; for references to regnum equaling ecclesia in the contemporary literature, see Scholz 1903, 140, 266, 363, 373.
116 See John of Paris On Royal and Papal Power XVI.
117 See A Dispute between a Priest and a Knight 297/305, 299/307.
(The first number refers to Erickson's critical Latin edition and the second to her translation.)
118 In “Ordonanzen des Königs erscheinen utilitas rei publicae, commun profit, bon estat neben oder in gleichem Sinne wie necessitas. ” Wieruszowski 1933, 173–74. Cf. ibid., 168 ff., 187; Post, “ Ratio publicae utilitatis, Ratio status, and 'Reason of State,' 1100– 1300”, in Post 1964. 119 Kantorowicz 1957, 286.
face VIII. Royal polemicists did their best to represent the abuses, alleged or actual, with which they charged the spiritual authorities as threats to the common good. Once the premise was accepted that the proper functioning of spiritual power was essential for the common good, it must not have been too hard to make this argument stick.
Both necessitas and utilitas were cited in polemics against Boniface and in support of Philip. That the clergy would use its revenues for “selfish purposes” instead of contributing toward the defense of the realm was considered detrimental to the public welfare. “In any major necessity of faith and morals”, John of Paris wrote, “all the possessions of the faithful are common property and must be shared, even the chalices of churches. ” 120 The anonymous author of the Dispute between a Priest and a Knight argued to the same effect: “Nor should the material temple, nor the things consecrated in it, be spared to restore peace and safety to the Christian people. ” 121 Necessitas bound everyone to aid in defense of the realm, and in case of necessity the king was allowed to act in any way expedient for the realm's defense. Public welfare and defense of the realm entitled the king to give, take, and use any property, movable or unmovable, in the realm. 122
Whereas the notion of necessitas was not new, the idea of necessitas perpetua was. This innovation occurred around 1300 and implied the indeterminate prolongation of what was by definition a momentary deviation from the rule. 123 Philip IV's France was the model for the new type of power based on this notion, and the old adage necessitas non habet legem—necessity knows no law—became its fundamental law. At the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the logic of “necessity”, linked with the “defense of the realm”, justified actions carrying royal power far beyond its old limits. 124 In the France of Philip IV, the king was freed from law, since defending the realm overrode all law. Pierre Dubois, for example, approvingly quoted Siger of Brabant's com-
120 On Royal and Papal Power VII (p. 104).
121 A Dispute between a Priest and a Knight, 299/307.
122 Strayer, “Defense of the Realm and Royal Power in France”, in Strayer 1971 (here 298). Cf. Renna 1973, 681.
Ironically, one of the first to link public welfare with the emergency powers of the king was Giles of Rome in his De regimine principum. He had written this work for the instruction of the future Philip IV some fifteen years before he composed On Ecclesiastical Power in support of Boniface VIII and papal supremacy. The two works, however, represent two conceptual levels of pro-papalist thought. Cf. McCready 1973, 665. Giles also gave the future king instruction on the love of one's country (amor patriae). Cf. Beaune 1991, 301–2.
123 See Kantorowicz 1957, 286.
124 Strayer 1971, 297.
mentary on Aristotle about the value of good laws for the government of the city. 125 But in the same work he argued that “in the case of necessity of defense of the realm, that knows no law”, the king was allowed to transgress the laws that protected ecclesiastical property. 126 Indeed, what “reason of state” was to be to the late sixteenth century, “defense of the realm” was to the late thirteenth century. 127 There is, however, an important difference between these concepts. In the “reason of state” debates, the transgression of law by the prince was conceived of in moral terms, 128 whereas the limits transgressed by the king in “defense of the realm” were formulated in juridical language. It was thus hard to see the king's extralegal action in “defense of the realm” as an offence against Christian morality. As a result, it was precisely the religious, and not the “secular”, character of the new kingship that was affirmed and condensed in this apparently “Machiavellian” moment. With Philip IV, the logic of necessity was permeated with the logic of holy war.
War in defense of the realm became religious war. 129 The crown of martyrdom passed from crusading holy warriors to the victims of wars for territorial kingdom. 130 These developments cannot be explained only by the pronounced religious character of the French kingship and kingdom. They were not limited to France. The “religion” of kingship, it is true, was most notably developed by Philip IV, his ministers, and his propagandists in the early fourteenth century, but a “roughly similar process” of the “fusion of the religious and secular, centered on the figure of the ruler and the perception of nationality”, occurred in England. 131 There too, royal and national identity merged, the king's battles were characterized in terms of the welfare of his subjects, the image of the king's war as holy and just was consolidated, patriotism was sanctified, and the soldier of the king was assimilated to the soldier of Christ. 132 Christ himself was nationalized and the English became the new Israelites. “Now the Pope has become French and Jesus has become English”, was a popular contemporary verse about the battle at Poitiers in 1356,
125 “[L]onge melius est civitatem regi legibus rectis quam probis viris. ” De recuperatione terre sancte 132. The reference is to Aristotle Politics 3.16.1287b.20. Contemporary answers to the question “Is it better to be ruled by the best man or by the best laws?” are discussed in Renna 1978 (a reference to Pierre Dubois, 318).
126 De recuperatione (p. 115; cited in Strayer 1971, 298 n. 30).
127 Strayer 1971, 296.
128 See Fernández-Santamaria 1983.
129 Cf. Renna 1973, 681, 686.
130 Kantorowicz 1957, 244, 256 (speaking of “secular state”).
131 Tyerman 1988, 324–25.
132 See ibid., chap. 12, cf. chap. 5– 6 (for earlier developments).
where the English defeated the French. 133 And in his opening address to the parliament of 1376–77 the chancellor said that “Israel is naturally the heritage of God as is England. For I truly think that God would never have honoured this land in the same way as he did Israel through great victories over their enemies, if it were not that he had chosen it as his heritage. ” 134
The representation of war in defense of the realm as religious war was facilitated by identification of the realm with patria. The Christian corpus mysticum took new shape in the French fatherland, 135 and the territory of the kingdom was “super-christianized. ” 136 The sacred soil of France 137 was assimilated to the Holy Land. A distinctively religious character was thus imprinted on “defense of the realm. ” 138 In a war so religiously colored, the king acted as an instrument of God's will, as a repository of divine justice. He acted in accordance with what was “lawful for him by divine law”, 139 destroying the enemies of the realm and reprimanding the clergy. Sacred in his office, he had a sacred task to accomplish. What was actually at stake in the defense of the realm was the “safety of the Christian people”: salus populi Christianae, salus—or pax—genti Christianae. Nothing was more sacred: “And in fact, what could be more holy than the Christian people's welfare, and what more precious to the Lord than to keep enemies and ravenous murderers away from the Christian people and to win peace for His faithful subjects?” 140 God's interests were at stake. 141
Defense of the realm—that is, defense of the most Christian kingdom and its most Christian people by the most Christian king—was synonymous with defense of the faith and the Church. Should he fail to perform his duty of defending the faith and the Church, the king would have God's wrath to fear. 142 However, defense of the Church, traditionally a
133 Chronicon Henrici Knighton (quoted in Barnie 1974, 12). Cf. Tyerman 1988, 333.
134 Quoted in Barnie 1974, 102–3.
135 Hillgarth 1971, 107. Cf. Kantorowicz 1957, 258. On the concept of patria, see id. 1951; 1957, 232 ff.; Post 1964, chap. 10.
136 Cf. Beaune 1991, 175.
137 Cf. Wilks 1964, 430.
138 See Kantorowicz 1957, 232 ff., especially 236–38; 1951, 479.
139 Cf. the shift in A Dispute between a Priest and a Knight, 296, 299/303, 307 from secular laws, according to which justice and injustice concerning temporal matters should be determined in normal circumstances, to divine law, which takes precedence in extraordinary circumstances.
141 Cf. Renna 1973, 681– 86.
142 Wieruszowski 1933, 188.
primary function of the Christian prince, now became secondary. Defense of the realm took precedence. Because the Church was considered an integral part of the realm, defense of the Church became derivative of defense of the realm. And the role of the Church was henceforth auxiliary: to contribute toward defense, not to initiate or direct it. Defense of the Church within the realm made the Church's supremacy untenable. Necessitas allowed the king to override separate spiritual jurisdiction originating outside his realm that had exempted the clergy within the realm from his jurisdiction.
The consequences were profound and far-reaching. The king's use of extraordinary jurisdiction eroded the distinction between the temporal and spiritual spheres. With defense of the realm represented as war in the interest of religion, the separation of the two spheres became meaningless. 143 The dualism of clergy and laity was transcended “not by the corpus mysticum of the Church, but by the mystical corpus politicum of the French patria. ” 144 As the highest temporal ruler, the king appropriated to himself jurisdiction in the spiritual sphere. Deriving his authority directly from God and using his powers without limitation (and, not least importantly, beyond the limits of temporal sphere), the emergency king was high priest in regno suo.
These developments were not the creation of royal “absolutism” or “sovereignty” any more than they were the emergence of the “secular state. ” In particular, we should be careful not to apply the modern concept of sovereignty to conflicts concerning the overlapping jurisdictions of medieval powers. 145 In Philip IV's France, kingly prerogatives remained highly restricted even in the royalist pamphlets, and the king had to consult his “feudal magnates. ” 146 The thirteenth-century French lawyers in a few instances used the vernacular term sovraineté. The term more often employed by Philip IV's polemicist, however, was summa superioritas, a common term in the political language of the age. 147 The term used in the Dispute between a Priest and a Knight is supremacy. 148
143 Renna 1973, 691.
144 Kantorowicz 1957, 258; for the corpus mysticum, 194–232.
145 Cf. Canning 1989, 17–18, 30, 44, 59, 64, 66. For an older, opposing view, see Kämpf 1935, 12.
146 See Renna 1973, 679, 690.
147 See Watt 1971, 18.
148 See A Dispute between a Priest and a Knight, 300: By definition, the king is supreme (rex … est summus) and has no superior above him (nullus est superior); by his royal power the king is supreme over the laws, customs, privileges, and liberties (regia potestate preesse).
The king was supreme and, as such, souverain “over all. ” He lawfully had “his whole kingdom in his general care”, as Philippe de Beaumanoir put it. But this writer also observed that “each baron is sovereign in his barony. ” What belonged to the king was precisely “some sovereignty. ” 149 Philip IV did not ignore the customs that supported the “sovereignty” of his barons. And only in case of necessity did he place himself—and himself alone—above the laws concerning clerical liberties. His achievement in the conflict with Boniface was annulling the autonomy and extraterritoriality of spiritual jurisdiction. Spiritual jurisdiction passed into the hands of the lay territorial ruler, with the clergy subjected to the power he exercised in his regnum-ecclesia founded on the logic of necessitas.
Out of the conflict between the French and papal monarchs emerged a territorial kingdom cutting across and undermining the universality of Papal jurisdiction. On the one hand, the king exempted his kingship and kingdom from the jurisdiction of the Pope. On the other, the Church became territorially circumscribed, and within this territory, as the “Gallican church”, subordinated to royal jurisdiction. But radical as this conflict between the French and Papal monarchs may have been, and much as it might mark a historical turning point, it was nevertheless fought within the framework of well-established and conventional ideas and power relationships. In neither theory nor practice was the “Papal view” completely overthrown, and the king showed himself reluctant to make “a clean break with past convention. ” 150 Even though the papal monarchy had been dealt a blow from which it never recovered, the conflict was contained within the “basic constitutional law of Christendom. ” That constitution was based on the assumption that both the Pope and the Emperor possessed “universal sovereignty”, either de facto or de jure, and that all other forms of power fit into this basic structure to form a typically medieval “hierarchy of sovereignty. ” 151 The consolidation of territorial powers, be they kingdoms or Italian city republics, took place and was conceptualized in this context.
It is thus not surprising that Philip IV, having defeated Boniface VIII, sought to re-establish cooperation with the Papacy. The Papacy was not something the king could dispense with. In the Templars affair, for example, “the king was reluctant unequivocally to override the Papacy's
149 Coutumes de Beauvaisis ch. 34,1043. Cf. ch. 59 and especially ch. 60, discussing the “sovereign” powers in war and in making peace and truces.
150 M. Barber 1982, 18–19, 26.
151 See Canning 1989.
well-established jurisdiction over the heretics. ” 152 He needed the Pope to suppress the Order. 153 Generally, he sought to use the Papacy as an instrument of French politics at home and abroad. 154 For its part, the Papacy played a vanguard role in legitimizing the formation of territorial powers, especially in promoting the French kingdom. Innocent III's bull Per venerabilem and Clement V's Pastoralis cura were prime examples of such a policy. 155 That policy, it seems obvious, was part of the Papal struggle against the German (Holy Roman) empire, although when it supported territorial power against imperial universal jurisdiction, the Papacy was actually undermining its own universal authority. But what matters here, to reiterate, is that the Papacy was not adverse to the formation of territorial power. In fact, the Papacy itself had become a territorial power, with the Pope exercising temporal power like any lay ruler in what had traditionally been called the lands of St. Peter. 156
The emergence of territorial power as such was not contradictory to the “basic constitutional law of Christendom”, which rested on the universal jurisdiction of Papacy and empire. Rather, it was the universalist claims made by the model territorial kingdom, France, that led to the dissolution of Christendom. In the French case, at least, the claim that territorial kingdoms or “national monarchies” were antithetical “to the very ideal of universalism itself” 157 is unwarranted. Philip IV was only opposed to “all forms of universal domination other than his own. ” 158
To say that when “Roman Christendom” had “defined its unifying structure, Christendom was already no more”, 159 may be an exaggeration. But Christendom had begun to decline as the new constellation of powers took shape with the conflict between Philip IV and Boniface VIII. The decline of Christendom is not, of course, synonymous with the decline of Christianity and cannot be understood as an advancement of “secularization. ” It was, rather, the dissolution of an order unified and maintained by the papal monarchy as the seat of universal
152 M. Barber 1982, 23.
153 Cf. Menache 1982.
154 Hillgarth 1971, 62.
155 For the Per venerabilem, see Tierney 1988, 136 ff. The role of the Pastoralis cura (1313) in furthering the case of “territorial conception” of kingdom is stressed in Ullmann 1965, 198. But see Pennington 1993b, 187 ff. Cf. Setton 1976, 171; Canning 1989, 22.
156 A landmark in these developments was the pontificate of Innocent III. For this reason, some historians portray him as the creator of the Papal State. Cf. Morris 1991, 421; Sayers 1994, 66 ff. For the later period, see Prodi 1982.
157 Cf. Oakley 1991, 24.
158 Wilks 1964, 421.
159 Alphandéry 1959, 254.
authority, backed by the universal (even if only de jure universal) temporal power of the empire. And, once again, it was the universalist pretensions of the French monarchy, rather than the affirmation of the territorial power per se, that shook the universalist premises of the “constitution of Christendom. ”
THE UNIVERSALISM OF TERRITORIAL POWER:
FRENCH DOMINION OF THE WORLD
The universalist ambitions of the French kingdom were neatly captured by a contemporary who, in 1308, wrote that Philip IV es rey et papa et emperador. 160 Indeed, royal polemicists argued for French lordship over the whole world. John of Jandun, a master of arts at the University of Paris, for example, declared that “monarchical dominion over the whole world should belong to the most illustrious and preeminent kings of France, at least because of their innate proneness to perfection. ” 161 For Pierre Dubois, writing two years earlier, the king should be more than imperator in regno suo. This view seems to have become the official view at the French court as early as 1300. 162 Dubois wished to make Philip IV emperor not only in his own realm but outside the realm as well. 163 For the well-being of the world, he wanted to subject the whole world to the French kingdom. 164
This desire for world domination was characteristic of fourteenthcentury French “national royalism. ” But claiming world dominion meant striving for empire. Indeed, French royalist pamphleteers in that period exhibit “an almost total adoption of the imperial ideology. ” 165 This led to confrontation with the empire, even though that confrontation remained more or less limited to a paper war. Claiming the imperial title for France 166 was only one aspect of the confrontation. The other, more prominent, aspect was undermining the universality of the emperor's jurisdiction by exempting France from its sway. Philip IV said all that needed to be said in this regard when he stated that France had never,
160 Hillgarth 1971, 63 (with further examples of the French king's image in the eyes of unsympathetic contemporaries).
161 Tractatus de laudibus Parisius (quoted in Hillgarth 1971, 107). Cf. Landry 1929, 158; Zeller 1934, 300.
162 Fawtier 1960, 88.
163 Cf. Post 1964, 448.
164 Summaria brevis, 11. See Kern 1910, 32.
165 See Wilks 1964, 428–29.
166 See Kern 1910, 298 ff.; Zeller 1934; Kämpf 1935, 97–105; Wilks 1964, 428 ff.
since the time of Christ, recognized a temporal superior. 167 Many of his literate subjects said the same time and again. 168 Bishop William Durant the Elder, for example, explained that the emperor was dominus mundi, whose lordship extended over all the provinces, nations, and princes, “except the king of France. ” 169 The anonymous writer of the Rex pacificus—perhaps John of Paris 170 —argued that “there are and have been from time immemorial definite boundaries by which the kingdom and the empire are divided. ” 171 Another unidentified author was more specific and explained that France had separated from the empire when Charlemagne's empire had been divided among his sons. Because France had been separated from the empire by “an equal division”, it was “equal in dignity and authority” with the empire. 172
Such denial of universal jurisdiction, even if that jurisdiction existed only de jure, was the source for the universalist aspirations of the French territorial kingdom. France confronted both the Papacy and the empire even as empire and Papacy were themselves in conflict. 173 I noted earlier that the Papacy, in its protracted conflict with the empire, had supported the emergent territorial kingdoms' claims for independence from the empire. But at the time of Philip IV, the Papacy appears to have become more mindful of how much its own fate was connected with the condition and destiny of the empire. The Papacy began to realize that French denial of imperial authority was an oblique attack on papal supremacy. 174 This connection was clearly expressed in the pro-royal pamphlet Rex pacificus. The Pope, the pamphleteer argued, “is not supreme lord in temporals in regard to those kingdoms that are not under the Roman empire. Now the kingdom of France is not under the Roman empire…. Therefore the Pope is not lord in the kingdom of France, nor supreme in temporals. ” 175
Royalist writers exploited both Innocent III's bull Per venerabilem to support the supremacy of their king in his realm and Innocent IV's rejection of the idea that the king of France could be subordinate to the
167 See Pennington 1993b, 168.
168 Cf. Post 1964, 471 ff.
169 Speculum judiciale (quoted in Zeller 1934, 292). On Durant, see Fasolt 1991, 64 ff.
170 Cf. Saenger 1981.
171 Rex pacificus (Lewis 1954, 2: 469). Cf. John of Paris On Royal and Papal Power XXI (pp. 220–25).
172 A Dispute between a Priest and a Knight, 300/308–9.
173 Cf. Rivière 1926, 371.
174 Cf. Wilks 1964, 426, 428.
175 Rex pacificus (Lewis 1954, 2: 469).
emperor. 176 Boniface VIII took a different stance. He attacked the “Gallic arrogance” he saw in the French refusal to recognize the empire. He declared that the French lie when they proclaim that they are independent from the empire, for by right, the French are and should be under the rule of the “King of the Romans and Emperor”—lest the rights of the papal monarchy be infringed. 177 Augustinus Triumphus, a leading curialist writer, compared the “modern kings” of France to Nebuchadnezzar because they, too, refused to recognize any superior. 178 The territorial kingdom's refusal to acknowledge temporal superiors, which eroded both universal powers (Empire and Papacy), was paving the way to territorial power's own universalism.
The universalist ambitions of the French kingdom rested on the conviction that the sacred kingdom and its most Christian king had a religious mission to fulfill. Philip IV's victory over Boniface reinforced that conviction. 179 The welfare of the French kingdom was identified with the well-being of the Christian faith. At the beginning of the fourteenth century, a Dominican royalist preacher went so far as to liken the French kingdom to the kingdom of Christ. He proclaimed that “properly speaking, no kingdom should be called regnum Franciae except the Kingdom of Christ and the blessed. ” 180 This can be read as establishing intimacy between the holy realm of this world and the heavenly kingdom—or even projecting the this-worldly regnum Franciae as the model for regnum coelorum. 181 But ascension of the French kingdom to heaven is only part of the story. At the same time, the idea of political society as corpus Christi was shifting from a universal to a territorial—“national”— level. 182 Once territorialized, however, this corpus Christi could not rest there. As Christ's body, the territorial kingdom was charged with universalist potential and drive. The Dominican's proclamation can thus be read as suggesting that the French king should establish his kingdom in such a way that it could properly be called the kingdom of Christ. 183 Parisian masters of theology designated the French king “the principal
176 See Fawtier 1960, 86.
177 Wilks 1964, 426 n. 2.
178 Tractatus contra articulos (quoted in Wilks 1964, 426 n. 2).
179 See Schein 1985, 125 (referring to Fawtier, L'Europe Occidentale de 1270 à 1380 [Paris, 1940]).
180 William of Sauqueville, quoted in Kantorowicz 1957, 255; cf. 238 n. 138 (with further references); Kämpf 1935, 109–11.
181 See Kantorowicz 1957, 255.
182 Wilks 1964, 431.
183 For France as the “doux royaume de Jésu Christ”, see Kämpf 1935, 111.
fighter and defender” of the faith. 184 Others agreed, and saw him and his most Christian people as the vanguard, if not the shock troops, of the ecclesia militans, called on to realize the reign of Christ throughout the world. 185
Once established, the equation of the welfare of the French kingdom with the welfare of the Christian faith was bound to be read in reverse as well. Another French cleric, preaching at the time of the French-Flemish war, declared that he who “carries war against the king [of France], works against the whole Church, against the Catholic doctrine, against holiness and justice, and against the Holy Land. ” 186 This was a daring proclamation. 187 Not only the Church, as ecclesia militans, but fides, the faith itself, was now defined territorially or, one may say, understood and determined “nationally. ” 188 The “national” became the bearer of the universal. This was precisely the logic that eventually destroyed Christendom even as it preserved the spirit of holy war that had been born with Christendom as its spiritus movens.
THE KING'S PEACE AND
THE RECOVERY OF THE HOLY LAND
The appropriation of the overseeing of the Christian faith by the newly consolidated territorial powers (best represented by France under Philip IV), triggered a reordering of the Christian world. Of key importance for that reordering was a rearticulation of the relation between holy war and peace. At the heart of holy war, as we have seen, was peace. Because peace is a central issue of power, conceptions of peace were bound to transform with the redistribution of power within Christendom, while ideas of holy war remained basically the same. In the changing relationships among the Papacy, the empire, and territorial powers, there were competing claims to the authority to make and maintain peace in the Christian commonwealth. In the forefront of these power struggles was, once again, the question of who would control the crusade.
The crusade had not waned with the fall of Acre in 1291. As a movement and as an idea, it continued to be relevant for a long time to come. 189
184 M. Barber 1982, 22.
185 Kämpf 1935, 109.
186 Sermo cum rex Franciae est processurus ad bellum, 170. Kantorowicz 1957, 255, saw such statements foreshadowing Joan of Arc's “Tous ceulx qui guerroient au dit saint royaume de France guerroient contre le roy Jhesus. ”
187 See Schein 1985, 122.
188 Kämpf 1935, 108, 111.
189 Cf. Housley 1992, 1, 427; Rousset 1983, 7.
However, temporal government's role in organizing and implementing the crusade was expanding. 190 This important shift has led some historians to speak of “national crusading. ” By that they mean that the crusades became more “secular” in nature and began to serve “worldly ambition” and “national interests. ” This, they maintain, signaled the “failure of crusades. ” 191 In contrast to this view, recent research has pointed out that the crusade was revitalized by “nationalization. ” 192 Crucial to the crusade's revitalization was its “cross-fertilization” with a new phenomenon, “national war. ” 193 Crusading ideology and emotions “infected other sorts of warfare in a process from which emerged the sanctified patriotism distinctive of late medieval and early modern Europe. ” In fact, according to this view, it was precisely through its “nationalization” that the crusade had “a formative influence on the development of the modern world. ” 194
Territorial powers fighting wars for “national” or dynastic interests appropriated for themselves the aura of crusading warfare. The violence committed in the name of the fatherland 195 was sanctified through association with crusading ideas and ideals. Philip IV and his men boasted (as did Pierre Flotte in an exchange with Boniface VIII) that they held “real” power, as opposed to the Pope's “verbal” power. 196 But the power they were amassing had to be “verbalized” to become effective. It needed to be connected to Christendom's revered ideals, whose keeper was the Papacy. Much of the territorial kingdoms' struggle with both the Empire and the Papacy revolved around claims to Christendom's common ideals and the institutions in which those ideals materialized. In other words, they often revolved around the crusade, an ideal institution.
Appropriation of the defense of the Holy Land for the defense of the realm 197 has led some historians to mistake sacralization of secular warfare for secularization of holy war. Thus we read, for example, that “the crusader idea of a holy war was all but completely secularized, and its place was taken by a quasi-holy war for the defense of the realm or of
190 Cf. Housley 1992, chap. 14.
191 E.g., Throop 1940, vii–viii, 285 ff.
192 Housley 1992, 453 (and 499 for further references).
193 Tyerman 1988, 4.
194 See ibid., 324–25, 327.
195 See Post 1964, 435 ff. For use of the concept of pugna pro patria by a prominent crusading theoretician, see Humbert of Romans Treatise LXXXV,7.
196 Flotte is quoted as having responded to Boniface's claim that “Nos habemus utramque potestatem” with: “Utique, Domine, sed vostra est verbalis, nostra autem realis. ” Fasolt 1991, 81. 197 Cf. Kantorowicz 1951, 480; Menache 1990, chap. 8.
the nation symbolized by the 'crown' of France. ” 198 I find this view questionable. Unqualified use of the term secular to describe the transfer of crusading activities from the Papacy to territorial temporal rulers is misleading. 199 Speaking of secularization when interpreting historical processes that actually led to a resacralization of kingship seems curious. When territorial powers began to take over the crusade, holy war, it is true, came under control of the secular ruler. But this involved neither a decrease in the holiness of war nor a reduced role for religion in matters of power in the Christian West. The Crusade became no more “secular” when it began to pass from the hands of the Pope to the hands of the most Christian king. Rather, territorial power acquired a holy nimbus.
There are other problems with the thesis of “secularization” of the Crusade. “Defense of the Holy Land” was not replaced by “defense of the realm”; rather, the two were explicitly linked together by patriotic propagandists. In their view, what was good “for the regnum Christi regis, Jerusalem and the Holy Land, was good for the regnum regis Siciliae or Franciae. ” Conversely, what was good for France was good for the crusade. 200 The Crusade as such (that is, not translated into patriotic warfare) was still held in the highest esteem. In France, the whole ethos of kingship was “inextricably bound up with the rhetoric of crusading. ” 201 Crusading had become “part of the essence of French kingship”, 202 a pronounced element of the “royal ideal of the French monarchy. ” 203 The pamphlet Rex pacificus referred to French kings who had lost their lives on crusades. “Louis, great-grandfather of the lord king who now reigns, died on his way to fight the Albigensians for the defence of the church. His father Philip passed to God while pressing the cause of the church in Aragon. The blessed Louis, Philip's grandfather, paid the debt of all flesh at Carthage for the extension of the Christian faith. ” 204 It was, in particular, the image of Louis IX (St. Louis, who passed away in Tunisia and was canonized by Boniface VIII) that Philip IV's publicists invoked when they wanted to call the French the chosen people and
198 Kantorowicz 1951, 482.
199 Cf. Tyerman 1988, 340; Housley 1992, 14, 427 (speaking of the increasing importance of “secular leadership”, or the “sphere of secular government”, in crusading matters).
200 Kantorowicz 1951, 478. Cf. n. 186; Tyerman 1985b, 49 (for the same argument as put forward by Philip VI); Housley 1986, 89; Schein 1991, 161.
201 Edbury 1991, 134.
202 Tyreman 1985b, 51. Philip IV's taking of the cross in 1313 “became one of the greatest ceremonies of the French monarchy. ” Schein 1985, 124.
203 Schein 1985, 124.
204 Rex pacificus (Lewis 1954, 2: 470).
their king the most Christian king: “France was a Holy Land largely because an Ideal Crusader, Louis IX, had sanctified it by his sojourn upon earth and because his blood coursed through the veins of his royal descendants. ” 205 When royal publicists propounded the idea that the negotium Terrae Sanctae was France's particular responsibility and concern, they invoked St. Louis's crusading achievements. 206
In royalist propaganda, the crusade was an often-deployed and “potent reference point”, 207 used, for instance, during the conflict between Philip IV and Boniface VIII and in its aftermath. Boniface, for example, reproached the king of France for caring less about the Holy Land than the pagan Mongols. He accused Philip of injuring “public welfare, augmentation of the Catholic faith, preservation of ecclesiastical liberties”, and aid to the Holy Land (subsidium Terre Sancte). 208 Royalist propaganda paid Boniface back in kind and branded the Pope (after his death) “a devious anti-Christian monster who persecuted the king of France more than the sultan of Egypt and the French more than the Saracens”, the one who “cared nothing for the Holy Land and spent the money collected for its aid on persecuting the faithful. ” He was blamed for the loss of the Holy Land. 209
Furthermore, neither the popularity of the Crusades nor the enthusiasm for them abated. Western Christendom's ties to the Holy Land were still “very much alive. ” 210 The Holy Land and Jerusalem remained linked with Christian physical, moral, and spiritual renewal. “Throughout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries men wrote, read, heard and talked about the Holy Land incessantly. ” The appeal of the Holy Land and the lure of Jerusalem—the “acme of Christian respectability and resolve”—were “a fixed point in a changing world. ” 211
Finally, it is misleading to see the crusade to the Holy Land as “becoming increasingly nationalised. ” 212 In fact, if we accept the language of “nationalism”, it is only the rise of “national” power interests that al-
205 Jordan 1979, 218. Philip IV allegedly suffered emotionally from constant comparison with Louis IX. On St. Louis the Crusader, see Beaune 1991, 97 ff.
206 Housley 1986, 18.
207 Ibid., 89.
208 Schein 1985, 123.
209 Ibid., 122–23. On suspicions that the Pope was not genuinely interested in the affairs of the Holy Land, cf. Heidelberger 1911, 11, 23; Hillgarth 1971, 75; Housley 1992, 24.
210 Stickel 1975, 98.
211 Tyerman 1985a, 108, 110. Cf. Housley 1992, 45– 48.
212 Tyerman 1985a, 108.
lows us to speak of the “internationalization” of the crusade. 213 When it was decided, during the preparations for the Third Crusade, that the crusaders of each “nation” would wear crosses of different colors, 214 that was still within the unquestioned framework of a unitary Christian West. The colors reflected “feudal, rather than national divisions” (though national divisions had began to emerge), 215 and the crusaders in question should be seen as members of what Thomas More was later to call “the common corps of Christendom”, rather than as members of “national” armies. Things changed in the fourteenth century, when the consolidation of territorial powers enhanced the territorial prince's responsibility for, and control over, military organization and warfare. 216 The lay ruler, increasingly able to control his subjects' movements and actions, could now prevent his fighting men and administrators from joining the crusade. Lay rulers' consent began to be an “essential prerequisite to the declaration of any crusade which would affect them. ” 217 But these changes did not affect either the sanctity or the universal Christian character of the crusading.
What had changed, however, was the composition of Christian universality. The organization of the crusade as an universal Christian enterprise became territorially centered. France is a good example. A new crusading Franco-centrism meant that the “most Christian king” had successfully asserted himself as guardian of the faith and leader of the holy war. And although the Pope retained the right of final authorization of the crusade, he conceded to a weakening of his power in this matter. Clement V released Philip IV and his successors from their crusading commitments—in the event of necessitas. 218 Because it was left to the king's conscience to decide if his royal person or his realm were in danger—that is, if an emergency situation had occurred—he now had full freedom in dealing with the crusade. The Pope's concession to Philip was indeed “a carte blanche for inaction on the slenderest of excuses. ” 219 Much had changed from the times when Innocent III had commanded
213 Morris 1991, 581, cites the crusading endeavor as perhaps the most dramatic aspect of the “growing internationalism” under the late Papal monarchy.
214 A precedent had been set by the Second Crusade. Riley-Smith 1992, 110.
215 Cf. Tyerman 1988, 329.
216 Cf. Housley 1992, 430. Powell 1986, 203, sees this shift as occurring with Frederick II's crusade and argues that Frederick's crusading army was a royal army.
217 Housley 1986, 84– 85.
218 “[D]urantibus periculo vel impedimento regis vel regni ad transfretandum vel mittendum subsidium non teneatur et super huiusimodi periculis vel impedimentis voluit papa, quod staretur conscientie regis vel successorum. ” Heidelberger 1911, 25.
219 Housley 1986, 13–14.
the kings of England and France to head the military expedition to the Holy Land. 220
With the king recognized as the guardian of the faith and the leader of holy war, 221 peace became, once again, the king's peace, pax regis. “The king's peace is the peace of the kingdom”, it was declared. 222 And the peace of the realm, guaranteeing the safety and well-being of the Christian people, had as its consequence the peace of the Church. This was the message given by the royal advocate to his clerical opponent in the Dispute between a Priest and a Knight: the king's power is your bulwark, his peace is your (that is, the Church's) peace, his welfare is your welfare. 223
Even though he was a territorial prince, the king of France believed he had a universal mission—a belief certainly nurtured by a host of literary pretenders for his favors. The peace of the king was, it is true, in the first place the “peace of the realm”, but only in the first place. Such an understanding was implicit in the statement already cited by a preacher from the time of the 1302 French war against the Flemings, who declared that waging war against the king of France meant working against the whole Church, against the Catholic doctrine, against holiness and justice, and against the Holy Land. 224 He did not shy away from stating the consequences of his thoughts: “[P]eace of the realm is peace of the Church, learning, virtue, and justice, and means the acquisition of the Holy Land. ” 225
Equating the king's peace with the peace of the Church and with the crusade to the Holy Land was not confined to political fiction writing. The crusade continued to be a vehicle for peacemaking among Western powers. Given the French king's preeminence in crusade planning, Clement V justified his residence in Avignon with his desire to achieve peace between France and England as a necessary precondition for the crusade. 226 French kings undertook peace initiatives in the name of the imminent crusade, and the French presented their candidacy for the impe-
220 “La lettre Mediator Dei ne propose pas, mais impose aux deux rois la guerre sacrée. ” Alphandéry 1959, 43.
221 Schein 1991, 147, cf. 145.
222 Sermo cum rex Franciae, 170.
223 “Regia manus est murus vestra, pax regis, pax vestra; salus regis, salus vestra. ”
A Dispute between a Priest and a Knight, 298/306.
224 See n. 186.
225 Sermo cum rex Franciae, 170.
226 Heidelberger 1911, 24, 61. On the Avignonese Papacy and the crusade generally, see Setton 1976, chap. 9–13; Housley 1986.
rial title in the West in terms of its benefits for the Holy Land. 227 The failure of Philip VI's crusade to materialize, on the other hand, played a role in the outbreak of the Hundred Years' War. 228 I anticipate these developments because they shed light on the logic that shaped power relations in the Christian West. But let us stay with Philip IV and his reign a bit longer.
Philip IV emphasized that the very honor of the French nation was at stake in the crusade. The Popes, it seems, more than agreed. Clement V continually exhorted Philip IV to take the cross and reminded him (retaining the place of honor for his own papal majesty) that to the king of France “above all other men after the Roman Pontiff appertains the matter of the Holy Land. ” 229 John XXII went a step further when he spoke of “French power, whose aid is second only to that of God in the needs and expectations of the Holy Land. ” 230 It would be simplistic to explain French commitment to the crusade in purely instrumentalist terms and to see the crusade as a pretext for developing a full program for French conquest of the world. 231 There is no need to doubt French ambitions for world dominion, and the French monarch's championing of the crusade was certainly “politically expedient. ” But the age of “instrumental reason” had still to come. Even as Christendom was waning, the crusade was not a choice but was the solemn obligation of a Christian ruler. The crusading zeal of the French kings from Philip IV to Philip VI was not mere show. 232 The crusade was “less an instrument of policy than an inescapable part of the burden of Catholic rule. ” It was “a unique compound of personal commitment to Christ, dynastic honour, prestige, and political benefit. ” 233
If the most Christian king was to live up to his ideal image, he simply
227 Heidelberger 1911, 59.
228 See Tyerman 1985b, 49; cf. 45. Edward III of England (whom English propagandists “without exception presented as the man of peace”) also wanted to avoid the outbreak of that war when he suggested to Philip VI a joint crusade against the Saracens. Barnie 1974, 5. At the heart of the Church's efforts, first to prevent the war and then to stop it, was the intention of furthering the crusades “to divert the attention of Christian princes from their secular wars. ” Jenkins 1933, 79; Haines 1983, 153.
229 Hillgarth 1971, 75–77.
230 Housley 1986, 18.
231 Cf. Kantorowicz 1957, 254 n. 188.
232 See Tyerman 1984, 1985a. On the question of whether Philip IV was sincerely concerned with the crusade as “une fausse question”, see Schein 1985.
233 Housley 1992, 449. But Menache 1990, 176, speaks of the “manipulative use of the Crusade theme by royal communicators. ”
had to be the leader of the crusade. 234 Philip IV actually asserted himself as such, and in the early fourteenth century the crusade “came near to becoming the preserve of the French. ” 235 Contemporaries expected that all aid to the Holy Land would come from the French king and took it for granted that any major military campaign to the east would be led by the French royal family. 236 A missionary of the time claimed that “the king of France alone could conquer the whole world for himself and the Christian Faith, without anybody helping him. ” 237 With this in mind, it is not surprising that most of the crusading tracts of that time (especially after 1305, when the importance of the crusade in Philip IV's policy increased) 238 were addressed to the French court.
However much the writers of those tracts may have been anxious to attract royal attention, please the king's eye, and gain his support for their projects, their crusading literature was not particularly original in either substance or form. From the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries onwards, these authors generally followed crusading policy as redefined by the Second Council of Lyons (1274–76), summoned by Gregory X. The main features of that policy were a preference for smallscale expeditions over large-scale military operations; professionalization of the crusading army with a permanent, disciplined, and dependable mercenary force; the stationing of permanent garrisons in the Levant; the new prominence of commercial warfare (especially the blockade of Egypt); reform of military orders; innovations in financing the crusade; and hopes for a military alliance with the Mongols, who were perceived, when their invasion reached the Muslim lands, as the glorious champions of Christianity against Islam. 239
Untouched by the Council of Lyons, however, was the spirit of crusade: the love of peace. Gregory X proclaimed a six-year truce in Christendom as a first step toward recovering the Holy Land, and the Coun-
234 Cf. Schein 1985, 124.
235 Housley 1992, 26.
236 Heidelberger 1911, 12; Edbury 1991, 134.
237 See Housley 1986, 17–18.
238 Schein 1985, 123.
239 Boniface VIII praised them as “viri magnifici gentis Tartaricae. ” On the new crusading policy, see Gatto 1959, 82 ff.; Setton 1976, 111 ff.; Muldoon 1979, 59 ff.; Schein 1991, chap. 1, 167, 169; Housley 1992, 5, 11 ff. For the Mongol invasion, see Schein 1973; 1991, 43f., 87 f.; Edbury 1991, 104 ff.; Housley 1992, 9 f., 21 f., 179 f. On missions to the Tartars and on the Roman curia's hope to win the Tartars over to Christianity (based on a misunderstanding of the Mongols' religion as monotheistic), see Lupprian 1981. Cf. Olschki 1943, 26 f.
cil of Lyons ordered spiritual punishment for those who broke the peace. 240 For authors of the memoirs submitted to the council, 241 peace in the Christian world was the necessary condition of a successful crusade. Gregory X's successors to the See of St. Peter worked for the same goal. Among them, Nicholas IV (1288–92) stands out for his efforts to unite all the forces of Latin Christianity for the crusade. 242 In 1313, Clement V renewed Innocent III's and Innocent IV's ban on tournaments to ensure that the nobility “preserved their energy for the Holy War, as well as to keep them from illegal warfare. ” 243 This unwavering commitment to peace was echoed by crusading propaganda outside the curia. Mobilizing for war meant a series of calls for peace.
Also influencing the crusading literature of the time was the Muslims' retaking of Acre and the ensuing loss of Latin territorial possessions in the Levant. 244 The fall of Acre prompted an outpouring of tracts discussing events in the Holy Land and looking for an explanation of the “catastrophe. ” “Never before had there been so many projects for a new military enterprise written and presented from so different quarters as after the events of 1291. ” 245 While the loss of the Holy Land neither “fundamentally transformed the concept of the crusade” 246 nor brought about military action, it inspired the creation of a new literary genre. In the years 1291–92, treatises on the recovery of the Holy Land appeared: a “new branch of literature which, in volume and importance, occupied a notable place in the literature of the age. ” 247
By the time the French king became the main addressee of that literature—which was bristling with solutions to the great issues of world history, the total defeat of Islam, the re-ordering of Christendom, the reformation of the Church, and the apotheosis of the line of St. Louis 248 — the authors had little new to say. The crusading plans composed between
240 Cf. Gatto 1959, 80.
241 On these crusade memoranda, see Schein 1991, 22–35; Humbert of Romans's Opus tripartitum is discussed in detail in Throop 1940, chap. 6–7. Cf. Daniel 1989b, 49 ff.
242 Heidelberger 1911, 2; Atiya 1938, 34; Siberry 1985, 220; Schein 1991, 41, 46, 51, 75, 135, 149.
243 Heidelberger 1911, 60; Schein 1991, 41.
244 For different views on Western reactions to the fall of Acre, see Stevenson 1968 (1st ed. 1907), 355; Stickel 1975, 95.
245 Stickel 1975, 97.
246 For different views on this question, cf. Luttrell 1965, 127; Stickel 1975, ii, 243, 252; Schein 1991, 73, 139.
247 Heidelberger 1911, 66; Atiya 1938, 45; Schein 1991, 91 ff., 269–70 (a list of these treatises).
248 Tyerman 1984, 170.
1305 and 1312 were “far less original than it is commonly accepted, or than they appear when individual plans are discussed in isolation from the contemporary treatises on the same subject. ” 249 The question of originality seems not to have been too pressing in that period, when the first anthologies of crusading plans were being compiled. 250 An example of that literature, Pierre Dubois's De recuperatione Terre Sancte, probably written in 1306, is interesting precisely because of its lack of originality, 251 which verges on plagiarism. 252 Dubois, a provincial lawyer, has been called a typical representative of the views of the “hundreds of officials who worked for the king throughout France. ” 253 His De recuperatione Terre Sancte knit together various ideas and plans referring to the Holy Land that were in circulation in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries.
ONCE THE WORLD WERE MADE CATHOLIC:
Dubois has confused more than one modern reader. Many have passed one-sided judgments on him by concentrating on only a particular aspect of his project. Typical in this regard are those who style Dubois a pacifist. Dubois has been considered “one of the most remarkable men in the history of the peace movement”, 254 and he is standard fare in histories of peace thought and international organizations. 255 At the beginning of the twentieth century, Dubois's ideas were read into articles of the Hague Convention, 256 and the view that Dubois was an ideologist of the Völkerbund was accepted in Nazi Germany (where the League of Nations, which had grown out of the Hague gathering, was in disrepute). 257 But the Middle Ages were an era of the “ecumenical idea of Res publica christiana” rather than a time of pacifist projects properly speaking, and
249 Schein 1991, 200.
250 Tyerman 1984, 174, 180.
251 Cf. Delaville le Roulx 1886, 49; Scholz 1903, 376, 385; Heidelberger 1911, 70. McIlwain 1932, 269, on the contrary, presents Dubois as “disproof of the prevailing belief in medieval uniformity. ” For a detailed review of opinions on Dubois, see delle Piane 1959, chap. 1; cf. Heater 1992, 11–12.
252 Schein 1991, 208.
253 See Strayer 1971, 310.
254 Souleyman 1972, 2.
255 For better examples of this literature, cf. ter Meulen 1917; Lange 1927; Hemleben 1943. In Wynner and Lloyd 1944, pt. 2, Dubois appears as the first author in the history of “theoretical” peace plans to “unite nations. ”
256 References in Zeck 1911, 205.
257 Schmid 1938.
Dubois cannot really pass as the “first ideologist of universal peace. ” Neither was he an early “modern spirit. ” But as a discovery of nineteenthcentury historians 258 who projected onto him their own intellectual agendas, Dubois has ever since been represented as a secularist modernizer. In a more qualified assessment, he is shown to be “the last voice of the medieval outlook”, who occasionally sounded a new note. 259
The strong religious bent of this French pamphleteer's ideas has not gone completely unnoticed. Dubois has thus been portrayed not only as a practical-minded “secular” reformer but also as a “mouthpiece of the most extreme tendencies of 'religious cesarism.'” 260 Whereas some traits make his work look like “a treatise of modern politics”, Dubois shared the “unconscious Manichaeism that runs through the whole of the Middle Ages” and moved within the “occult” and “eschatological” horizons of his own time. 261 The foundations of his thought were those characteristic of medieval political conceptions: the unity of Christian society and the distinction within it of two powers, both ordained by God and both necessary for the unum regnum, ecclesia catolica, or respublica christiana, outside of which there was neither salvation nor ordered life. 262 And even though some of his reform ideas called into question the basis of that scheme, Dubois was “certainly not a 'modern' mind. ” 263
When Dubois is seen as a pacifist or an early advocate of secularist and modernizing ideas, his advocacy of the crusade appears as a disturbing element to be explained away as a mere “pretext” for his reform proposals. 264 But once Dubois is understood as a more or less typical medieval writer, the centrality of the crusade idea in his work ceases to be surprising. 265 In De recuperatione Terre Sancte, the crusade became “part of a general reform in all branches of society as well as its vehicle. ” 266 Dubois's reform proposals were “inscribed within a more general doctrine to which the necessity of the crusade gave the full meaning. ” 267 Because in Dubois's Christian West there was no contradiction between
258 McIlwain 1932, 269.
259 Saitta 1948, 11.
260 Delle Piane 1959, 55.
261 Alphandéry 1959, 214–15, 221.
262 Delle Piane 1959, 57.
263 Ibid.; Scholz 1903, 376.
264 Kern 1910, 33; Rivière 1926, 343.
265 Zeck 1911, chap. 4.
266 Schein 1991, 217.
267 Rousset 1983, 131.
advocating holy war and arguing for peace, it seems appropriate to approach the work of this “crusade theorist” 268 through his ideas of peace.
Dubois's renown as a pacifist rests largely on his proposal to establish an arbitration mechanism for the elimination of wars. 269 But he left no doubt that his interest was in the prevention of wars between Christian powers alone. His peacemaking device, moreover, should be seen in a broader framework. Perpetual and universal peace within Christendom (Dubois spoke of pax universalis, generalis, and perpetua) was a precondition for the recovery of the Holy Land. Dubois's reasons for establishing peace among Christians were, first of all, pragmatic: “In order that a sufficient number of people may be induced to journey thither and remain there [in the Holy Land], it will be necessary for Christian princes to live in harmony and avoid war with one another. ” Otherwise these armed journeyers, upon hearing that their countries were at war, would rush home to defend their possessions. “It is therefore necessary to establish peace among all Christians—at least those obedient to the Roman Church—on such a firm basis that they will form in effect a single commonwealth so strongly united that it cannot be divided, because 'every kingdom divided against itself shall be made desolate,' as the Saviour says. ” 270
Dubois was not, however, a cynical pragmatist; his desire for peace had a clearly normative dimension. “Internecine wars among Catholics”, he wrote, “are greatly to be deplored, since in such wars many meet death under circumstances which make their status in the world to come very uncertain. ” 271 Dubois was anxious to avert the Christian from “bodily and spiritual death by making war upon his brethren in faith. ” 272 As someone who had studied Aristotle at the University of Paris, Dubois quoted approvingly from the Nichomachean Ethics, where the Philosopher had stated that to seek war for its own sake was the extreme of wickedness. 273 On the other hand, as a religious Frenchman of his time, he had no objections to righteous war. War fought by the righteous was no threat to their future life and made their life in this world more virtuous. “[W]hen it is impossible to secure peace except by means of war”,
268 Housley 1992, 54.
269 De recuperatione 12. For Dubois's arbitration plan, see Sherwood 1955.
270 De recuperatione 2 (quoting Mt 12.25). (I quote Langlois's edition of Dubois's De recuperatione and English translation in Dubois, The Recovery. References are to paragraphs of Dubois's work.)
271 Ibid., 2.
272 Ibid., 3.
273 Nichomachean Ethics X.7.1177b 8–10.
Dubois explained, “it is permissible for righteous men to seek and even to urge war in order that men may have leisure for acquiring virtue and knowledge after war is over and lasting peace has been established. ” 274 Such wars were “a means of betterment. ” 275
Since war among Catholics was inadmissible, Dubois suggested diverting war elsewhere: killing unbelievers was not only permissible but meritorious. 276 To Dubois and his contemporaries, this solution was a commonplace. When universal peace and harmony among all Roman Catholics had been established, Dubois enthused, “Catholics will be more virtuous, learned, rich and long-lived than hitherto, and more able to subjugate barbaric nations. They would no longer make war upon one another”, and “Catholic princes, mutually zealous, would at once join together against the infidels, or at all events send innumerable armies of warriors from all directions to remain as a permanent garrison in the lands to be acquired. ” 277 Dubois did not tire of repeating the argument: “The whole commonwealth of Christian believers [tota respublica christicolarum] owing allegiance to the Roman Church must be joined together in the bonds of peace. United in this way, all Catholics will refrain from making war upon one another. ” That was the imperative. “Let no Catholic rush to arms against Catholics; let none shed baptized blood. If anyone wishes to make war let him be zealous to make war upon the enemies of the Catholic faith, of the Holy Land, and of the places made sacred by the Lord. ” 278
Dubois thus espoused conventional ideas of pax et unitas in Christendom. For him, just as for the founding fathers of the crusading movement more than two centuries earlier, peace was both a necessary condition of holy war and its expected result. Springing forth from peace and bringing peace, the proposed “aid for the Holy Land” was, for Dubois, a “new alternative for military force”, bringing an end to wars between Catholics. 279 As such, Dubois's planned crusade aimed at nothing
274 De recuperatione 2. Cf. Summaria brevis, 5.
275 De recuperatione 2.
276 Cf. Scholz 1903, 420.
277 De recuperatione 70. Heater 1992, 12, has characterized Dubois as a “true herald of a modern style of thinking about European unity”; and Sherwood 1955, 149, described his peace proposal as “an early and important step on the road we are still travelling. ”
278 De recuperatione 3 (the image of the Holy Land as sanctified by the precious blood of our Lord reappears on page 99). Faced with this matrix of European peace thought, Lange 1927, 209, had to admit that, here, “le principe de la paix est … la paix entre chrétiens et la guerre contre les infidèles, considéré comme un devoir suprême. La paix n'est qu'un moyen pour faire la guerre. ”
279 De recuperatione 109.
less than Catholic lordship over the world. If Latin Christians would make peace among themselves and successfully carry out the crusade, “the commonwealth of Catholics [respublica catholicorum] obedient to the Roman Church would be greatly increased in a short time. ” If the Catholics, Dubois continued, would form a single republic in all kingdoms and places (si secta catholicorum unam in omnibus regnis et locis faciat respublicam), “this commonwealth would in the course of time obtain dominion over the whole world [respublica mundi monarchiam], waxing greater with the passage of the years. ” 280
With this grand vision in mind, Dubois was not willing to leave to individual discretion the decisions whether to join the “league of peace” and whether to comply with the regulations of the “league of universal peace. ” 281 Those petty Christian lords who would not conform to the new spirit of peace were to be punished. The peace-breaker who aggressed against his fellow Christians would be starved into surrender by economic blockade. He and all who helped him in any way would have their property confiscated, and they would be exiled to the Holy Land. Populating the Holy Land and serving as a wall of defense for other Christian settlers, such offenders would, moreover, lead the attack on the enemy into hostile—that is, not yet Christian—territory. They would become the vanguard of Christian expansion. Spiritual excommunication was thus replaced by geographical excommunication. Compared to eternal damnation, argued Dubois, who wanted to reduce the number of the damned, 282 such temporal punishment “will be feared more and will be of more advantage to the Holy Land. ” 283
Dubois thought out a number of reform projects prerequisite to a successful crusade. Law and court procedures should be simplified and made more efficient. 284 Military service was to be fulfilled under strict obligations (though in case of emergency Dubois would resort to levée en masse). Warfare should be made more efficient and wars shorter—if necessary, by means that approach total war, like devastation of the land, destruction of crops, and starving of populations. In cases of necessitas, the king would be allowed to “levy upon and seize the property of
280 Ibid., 70. Dubois added that “it is hoped … that this will come to pass in the realm of spiritual, not temporal, obedience. ” (I argue later in this chapter that this spiritual obedience was not to the Pope.) 281 See De recuperatione 101, 104.
282 See Alphandéry 1959, 218.
283 De recuperatione 4–8.
284 Ibid., 91 ff.
churches and ecclesiastics” to finance wars. 285 Reform of the Church was vital because the Holy Land could not be recovered and peopled by sinners, 286 and prayers necessary to recover the Holy Land could only be obtained from a reformed Church. 287 A thorough moral reform, purification, and unification of the Church would lead to the identification of the Church with the people. That would give birth to one spiritual body politic, 288 in which the Church would be under the most Christian king's jurisdiction. Finally, Dubois envisaged a plan for educational reform. Here, he looked beyond military success in the Holy Land to the future of the conquered territory.
Dubois's new educational system would train Western youth of both sexes for service in the East: for colonization and administration of conquered distant lands. The instruction of students in military arts, of course, was not to be neglected, and students were also to be taught mechanical arts useful in warfare. 289 But central to the reformed curriculum was the study of oriental languages. For, as Dubois asked his reader, how could the natives of the occupied lands be governed by Christians “who understand them no better than they understand the twittering birds of the air, the roaring beasts, and the hissing serpents?” 290 Linguistic skills, here, had ceased to be imagined as a means of converting non-Christians and became instead an instrument of administration and domination.
But Dubois did not forget about conversion. In fact, his discussion of conversion contributed to ideas about the education of women. 291 He wanted to establish schools for Christian boys and girls in every province at the priories of the Templars and Hospitalers. 292 He would have “some wise philosopher” choose children who were to be educated, and the chosen ones would never return to their families unless the parents would refund all the expenses incurred in their training. 293 In an age less
285 Ibid., 121 ff. Cf. Summaria brevis, 38 ff.; Scholz 1903, 420; Kern 1910, 31; for Dubois's support for the unification of military orders, cf. Oppinio 3.
286 De recuperatione 108. This point may be seen as contradicting the idea of populating the Holy Land with those who sinned against inter-Christian peace. See n. 283.
287 De recuperatione 3.
288 See ibid., 27.
289 Ibid., 84.
290 Ibid., 57, 117.
291 Brandt 1956, 59. For Brandt, the professional training for women and the plan for international arbitration are Dubois's “truly original ideas. ” Ibid., 61.
292 Dubois wholeheartedly supported Philip IV's attack on the Templars and confiscation of their property. 293 De recuperatione 60.
sentimental about childhood than our own, Dubois was not alone in contemplating taking children away from their parents, although his idea had some specific traits. Duns Scotus, the doctor subtilis and regent master in the Parisian theology faculty in 1305, argued that a Christian ruler not only might but should take children by force from their Jewish and infidel parents and have them baptized. He advised the ruler to do this with proper caution, lest the parents be forewarned and kill the children to prevent their baptism. 294 The Dominican Burchard of Strasbourg, writing at approximately the same time, concurred: “It is asked whether Jews and Saracens may be coerced into being baptized by the carrying off of their sons or property. I answer yes, because they are slaves and have no right to property or sons. ” 295 Dubois, however, would take Christian children away from their parents, using them as a means of establishing Christian domination over the infidels.
Their education accomplished, the boys would be sent from their native country to the Holy Land: some as priests, others to practice medicine and human and veterinary surgery and so help the army and the whole populace. The girls, too, would be instructed in surgery and medicine. “With such training and a knowledge of writing, these girls— namely, those of noble birth and others of exceptional skill who are attractive in face and figure—will be adopted as daughters and grand daughters by the greater princes of their own countries, of the Holy Land, and of other lands adjacent thereto. They will be so adorned at the expense of the said foundation that they will be taken for daughters of princes, and may then conveniently be married off to the greater princes, clergy, and other wealthy easterners. ” 296
Once married off, these young ladies were expected to convert their husbands—last but not least to monogamy 297 —and presumably, to have Christian offspring. The theme, again, was not new. Marriage between a Christian (a Christian lady, as a rule) and a Saracen was a popular topic of medieval romance literature. The offspring of the Christian woman and heathen prince is often pictured as a formless lump of flesh that becomes a handsome boy as soon as the infant is baptized, as a shaggy masculine creature whose hairiness disappears upon baptism, or as a child who is white on his right side and black on his left and is
294 Quaestiones in Quartum Librum Sententiarium; quoted in Kedar 1984, 187.
295 Summula iuris; quoted in Kedar 1984, 187.
296 De recuperatione 61; cf. 69, 85 f.
297 Ibid., 69.
turned “cler withoute blame” or “fair and lovely” when he receives the sacrament of baptism. It is the mother who convinces the father to have the child baptized—and thus humanized. And when the father sees the baby monster turned white and human, he too adopts the Christian faith and sometimes changes himself in the baptismal water from black to white. 298 But Dubois was not a romancer. He was a political pamphleteer. His educated women's “love of their native land” was thought of as instrumental to the “most Christian” domination in the East—as was their very education.
Dubois's idea of conversion through procurement must have rested on the image of the Saracens—who had seized “that country, which by Saviour's testimony is richer than all others”—as men who “follow such a sensual mode of life, all being at liberty to beget and rear as many children as they can, that not even the many kingdoms and provinces lying to the east, west, and south of the Holy Land were adequate for their needs. ” 299 Dubois thought of cleverly exploiting their imagined weakness. Yet Dubois's disdainful image of the Saracens contrasted with his opinion regarding the French king on the same subject: he advised the king that he should not leave his kingdom for military campaigns but stay safely at home and beget children. 300 That advice was, indeed, at variance with the medieval ideal figure of the Christian king. 301 The king of France as envisioned by Dubois came close to the image of the Oriental prince. 302 Yet Dubois had good reasons for his advice. Obviously, he did not want his king to die on a military expedition, as had some of Philip's predecessors. But Dubois was thinking of new life rather than death. A believer in astrology, which was popular in his time, Dubois was anxious to ensure that the king of France, lord of the world, be conceived and born under the most auspicious constellation of stars—that is, in France. 303 More specifically, the king's second-born son would be needed as the French lord of the Orient. That dominion was one of Dubois's main preoccupations. 304 He systematically thought of its establishment and maintenance.
Dubois was aware that the patriotic devotion of educated Christian
298 See Metlitzki 1977, 136 ff.
299 De recuperatione 2.
300 Ibid., 139.
301 Stickel 1975, 248.
302 Scholz 1903, 412.
303 Cf. Alphandéry 1959, 216; Tooley 1953, 67, 81– 82.
304 See Oppinio.
women was alone insufficient for securing possession of the Holy Land. Nor was killing all the local population a practical solution. A good prince, Dubois wrote, ought not to aim at the destruction of the whole subject people. But sparing even a proportion of the conquered people presented a new problem. Dubois now had to consider how the Christian conqueror should “attempt to gain the love [dilectio] of the survivors. ” Raising this question gave Dubois a place in history as one of the first to elaborate on methods of Christian expansion 305 and to think systematically about the “administration of colonies. ” In response to his own question, Dubois argued for both exemplary punishment of the “recalcitrants” in order to “strike terror in the hearts of many and all men would be made good”, and rewards for the “well-disposed. ” 306 But that was not all. Dubois also envisaged that “the names of these districts should be changed” and that the lands should be acculturated (as one would say today), so that the newcomers from the Latin West would find there “the joy and pleasure of familiar surroundings. ” 307
In one brief tract, Dubois suggested that the king of France invade Egypt and make his second-born son the ruler of the kingdom of Jerusalem and Cyprus. Certainly, Egypt was attractive for its “very fertile” land, but by invading Egypt the French king would also liberate the Egyptian people. As Dubois saw things, the “whole Egyptian people will easily be converted to the Catholic faith and be raised from slavery to freedom. ” 308 He was, however, realistic enough to note that numerous “warriors” would be needed to convince the Egyptians to submit to their own liberation. In his mind's eye he saw a multitude of warriors streaming to Egypt to acquire wealth—which he judged preferable to their lying idle in their native land. 309 Combined traffic in goods and soldiers would take place in other parts of the “liberated” eastern Mediterranean as well. Probably thinking of the cedars of Lebanon, he wrote: “In those places along the coast where excellent timber may be had for next to nothing they [the new kings of the East] will provide for the building of galleys and cargo boats by which iron and other products abundant in the north, but rare and expensive in the south, may be brought thither, as well as weapons not readily and easily procured there, and other things
305 Kern 1910, 30.
306 De recuperatione 117–18.
307 Ibid., 20. Cf. Rousset 1983, 132: “la guerre et la conquête ne suffisent pas, il faut imaginer une politique d'assimilation. ”
308 Oppinio 10.
conducive to living and fighting efficiently. Those vessels will carry warriors; in the time of peace, lest they remain idle, they will carry back aromatic spices and other commodities useful to us. ” 310
The economic advantages—or, in his words, “temporal benefits”— resulting from the occupation of the Levant were reasonably clear to Dubois. Referring to the system of education he proposed, Dubois explained that “[o]ne result of establishing schools of this sort and sending learned persons of both sexes to the Orient would be that valuable commodities [res preciosas], abundant in those regions but rare and highly prized among us, would be transported to us Occidentals in adequate amounts at a reasonable price, once the world were made Catholic. ” 311 As a special inducement to the benefactors of his proposed schools—the Pope, the cardinals and greater clergy, and kings and princes—Dubois declared that for their generosity they would be furnished with spices and any other rare and precious thing they desired “for next to nothing. ” 312 But to secure such advantages and privileges, commerce, according to Dubois, would be neither excessively pacific nor entirely free. His idea of commerce was far from the Enlightenment idealization of “pacific commerce. ” On the one hand, traffic in soldiers and traffic in goods would go hand in hand. On the other hand, the Catholic ruler of the “recovered” lands was to control trade and regulate prices in order to curb the “greed of the merchants. ” Those merchants whose greed Dubois wanted to curb, however, were not French merchants, but rather the Italians, and the Arab and other “oriental” merchants. Those merchants would be forced to embrace free trade. Once “these projects have, by the grace of God, been accomplished” and “Catholics of the same mind” were in possession of the whole Mediterranean coast, Dubois wrote, the Arabs will be “unable to prosper materially unless they share with the Catholics the commerce in their products. This will also be true in the case of Oriental peoples and their products. ” 313
There are good reasons to argue that, for Dubois, the recovery of the Holy Land was “a consciously imperialistic colonial policy more than a holy concern of Christendom. ” 314 His work, it has been maintained, marks a historical shift away from the “imperial” idea to “imperialistic”
310 Ibid., 6.
311 De recuperatione 13, 63; cf. 67.
312 Ibid., 68.
313 Ibid., 67, 105.
314 Schmid 1938, 20.
power politics, 315 and in his writings the “first outlines of colonial politics” have been detected. 316 Because he portrayed the recovery of the Holy Land no longer as “the accomplishment of a religious goal but already as a conquest of land”, Dubois has been characterized as a “colonizer” before his time. 317 In his work, it is said, the notion of one universal Christian society is outweighed by the expression of a national consciousness in which a particular Christian people is believed to be superior and to bear the universal mission of Christianity. 318 And yet, such views of Dubois are riddled with anachronisms.
Dubois's projects aimed at securing for western Christians an ever bigger share of the “temporal benefits” of this world that should “long since have accrued to us. ” 319 He argued that to accomplish this the Holy Land should be jointly occupied and divided among the western Christian powers. 320 But these powers would not be equal partners in their domination over the known world (which was still Mediterraneancentered). 321 Dubois's fundamental concern was to ensure French supremacy in the Christian West and in the newly conquered territories. The geographical expansion he proposed—the conquest of the Holy Land and also of “Egypt and Babilonia”, Tunis, 322 and “Oriental peoples”—was part of establishing French hegemony within the Christian West. The planned recovery of the Holy Land—“the progress [profectum] of the Holy Land”, 323 as Dubois called it—would be a unifying force within Christendom only to the degree to which Christian powers were willing to submit to French ambitions. Similarly, the idyllic peace to be accomplished through holy war—the entirety of mankind living in peace and harmony 324 —would be universal only through universal submission to France. 325 If French leadership were not universally accepted, the crusade that had been the vehicle for attaining Christian unity and peace would become the rationale for a policy of exclusion and coercion within Christendom, undermining Christendom's very foundation.
315 Kämpf 1935, 102.
316 Scholz 1903, 425.
317 Alphandéry 1959, 220, 222.
318 See Kämpf 1935, 86, 97–105.
319 De recuperatione 13.
320 Ibid., 20.
321 Cf. Kämpf 1935, 74.
322 See Oppinio 7, 11.
323 De recuperatione 141.
324 Ibid., 9.
325 Zeck 1911, 208.
Dubois made this clear when he discussed coercive measures against Italian cities. Should the Lombards, Genoese, and Venetians refuse to render obedience to the French king and pay him the tribute and dues they had formerly owed the emperor, “they will at once be shut off from the intercourse [tota communio] with all Catholics obedient to the lord Pope and who observed the new plan and statute of peace. Trade in all commodities would also be forbidden them. ” Once these “recalcitrants” had been brought to their knees and “thoroughly subdued”, they would be “sent into perpetual exile. ” 326 Accusations that Italian maritime republics had hindered the recovery of the Holy Land because of their quarrelsome spirit and selfish commercial interests in the Levantine trade 327 had long been common. But when Dubois unreservedly lent his voice to the new ethos of the French kingdom, he was saying something new.
There were simply no juridical grounds for France to demand that Italian cities render to the French crown the obedience they had owed to the emperor. The demand was based on and fueled by French aspirations to imperial dignity. Dubois's unconditional support for “French imperialism” bordered on chauvinism. 328 He simply declared that the whole world should agree to submit to the French. 329 In the face of the two universal Christian powers, the empire and the Papacy, Dubois eagerly argued for French universal lordship 330 —indeed empire—in both Occident and Orient. 331 When he wrote that Catholic powers owed “obedience to the lord Pope”, he presupposed the Pope's obedience to the French king. Dubois wanted to see French kings made “Roman senators” served by the Pope and his curia, 332 and the Church subordinated to the French kingdom. He “dreamed of a world in which the Holy See would be in the service of French nationalism. ” 333 His proposals for Church reform were based on “purely political French plans for dominion of the world”, in which the king of France appeared as the future
326 De recuperatione 116.
327 Ibid., 10.
328 Kern 1910, 30, called him “der erste Dogmatiker des Chauvinismus. ”
329 De recuperatione 141; Summaria brevis,11.
330 Scholz 1903, 251; Zeck 1911, 8.
331 Cf. De recuperatione 116, 117; Summaria brevis, 10–20; Oppinio. Whereas in the Pro facto Terrae Sanctae (1308) Dubois wanted the Pope to crown the French king emperor (see Scholz 1903, 436; Alphandéry 1959, 221–22), the crusade was also “intended to create an eastern empire for France” (Daniel 1989b, 89). Cf. Scholz 1903, 411, 436; Zeck 1911, 28–29; Brandt 1956, 37; Alphandéry 1959, 215–16.
332 See Summaria brevis, 12.
333 Rivière 1926, 349.
head of the ecclesiastical organization. 334 Dubois also suggested that the French should be elected Popes and cardinals and the papal court moved to France. 335
Dubois has been described as an “enemy of the Holy See” whose work was permeated with ardent love for France and its grandeur and defiance to the papal court at Rome. 336 Yet he did not relinquish the idea of the Pope as the maker and promoter of world peace (totius pacis actor et promotor), whose duty was to ensure not only that all Catholics would live in lasting peace and justice, but also that they would “honestly strive to recover and protect the patrimony of the crucified Lord. ” 337 This demonstrates how profoundly medieval was Dubois's idea of peace. 338 It was within the conventional medieval framework of ideas that Dubois advocated a displacement of power. The Pope whom he called the author of peace was a Pope made obedient to the French, speaking on behalf of the king of France. 339 In a peacemaking project aiming at bringing about French universal lordship, 340 Dubois attributed only a minor role to the Papacy. 341
And yet while clearly arguing for French universal rule, Dubois rejected the idea of a single monarch who would make “the whole world a unit” (totum mundum unum facere). He doubted that “there is any man of sound mind who thinks that in this day and age there can be a single temporal monarch for the whole world, who would rule all things and whom all would obey as their superior. If there were a tendency in this direction there would be wars, rebellions, and dissensions without end. ” 342 “But it is plausible”, he added, “that in spiritual matters there can and ought to be a single prince and monarch who might in a spiritual sense wield coercive authority in the east, the west, the south, and the north. ” 343 True to the categorical imperative of unity, Dubois did, after all, propose a single world ruler (monarcha mundi). But this prin-
334 “Inhaber des Kirchenstaats. ” Scholz 1903, 401.
335 For the “Französirung der Kurie”, see Scholz 1903, 415; Kern 1910, 34. As a matter of fact, 112 out of 134 cardinals elected by the Avignonese Popes were French. See Setton 1976, 169; Oakley 1991, 38, 42.
336 Delaville le Roulx 1886, 49, 51.
337 De recuperatione 40.
338 Scholz 1903, 394; Zeck 1911, 205. For a different view, see Kämpf 1935, 106–7.
339 Alphandéry 1959, 217.
340 Zeck 1911, 64.
341 Daniel 1989b, 89.
342 De recuperatione 63.
ceps unicus et monarcha was not to be the Pope. For Dubois, firmly entrenched in the framework of the “Capetian messianism”, it was the French king in whom the two powers would now merge. 344 Sanctification of the French kingship had born fruit. After the king of France had been made a spiritual ruler in regno suo, he could be envisaged, through the prism of coercive spirituality, as the monarch of a world dominated by western Christians.
344 Alphandéry 1959, 217.
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