chapter  7
36 Pages

Government and Politics: Emperors and Popes

This chapter discusses the German royal politics has made clear that successful kings had to maintain a strong royal domain and control the churches. The 'Investiture Contest' between the German kings and the popes is rightly considered to have begun the separation of the church from the state. Since the German emperors considered themselves priests through anointment they are sometimes portrayed in contemporary drawings of the ecclesiastical hierarchy they invested bishops with the crozier. The chapter describes the power of church courts which is a major difference between medieval and modern jurisprudence. While the great popes of the eleventh century were monks, several of their twelfth-century successors were canon lawyers, eager to define proper conduct and provide clarity and distinction in what had been the ambiguous area of interaction of the secular and ecclesiastical arms. This chapter explains the Constitutions of Melfi which virtually abolished local rights of government and placed all authority in the hands of imperial officials.