By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: A History of The Inquisition of The Middle Ages; volume II
Author: Lea, Henry Charles, 1825-1909
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A History of The Inquisition of The Middle Ages; volume II" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

(http://dp.rastko.net); produced from images of the
Bibliothèque nationale de France (BNF/Gallica) at

Typographical errors were corrected (See note the end of the etext). The
spelling of names of people or places has not been corrected or
normalized. (note of etext transcriber.)
















Copyright, 1887, by HARPER & BROTHERS

_All rights reserved._




Obstacles to Establishing the Inquisition                              1

Progress and Zeal of the Dominicans                                    6

First Appointment of Inquisitors.--Tentative Proceedings               8

Popular Resistance                                                    12

Position of Count Raymond                                             14

Troubles at Toulouse.--Expulsion of the Inquisition                   16

Its Return and Increasing Vigor                                       21

Suspended from 1238 to 1241                                           24

Condition of the Country.--Rising of Trencavel                        25

Connection between Religion and State-craft                           26

Pierre Cella’s Activity in 1241-1242                                  30

Heretic Stronghold of Montségur                                       34

Massacre of Avignonet.--Its Unfortunate Influence                     35

Count Raymond’s Last Effort.--Triumph of the Inquisition              38

Raymond Reconciled to the Church                                      40

Fall of Montségur.--Heresy Defenceless                                42

Increased Activity of the Inquisition                                 44

Raymond’s Persecuting Energy.--His Death                              46

Desperation of the Heretics.--Intercourse with Lombardy               49

Supremacy of Inquisition.--It Attacks the Count of Foix               52

Death of Alphonse and Jeanne in 1273                                  56

Rise of the Royal Power.--Appeals to the King                         57

Popular Discontent.--Troubles at Carcassonne                          58

Philippe le Bel Intervenes.--His Fluctuating Policy                   62

Renewed Troubles at Carcassonne.--Submission in 1299                  67

Prosecutions at Albi, 1299-1300                                       71

Inquisitorial Frauds.--Case of Castel Fabri                           72

Frère Bernard Délicieux                                               75

Renewed Troubles.--Philippe Sends Jean de Pequigny                    77

Philippe Tries to Reform the Inquisition                              79

Troubles at Albi.--Conflict between Church and State                  82

Philippe Visits Languedoc.--His Plan of Reform                        86

Despair at Carcassonne.--Treasonable Projects                         88

Appeal to Clement V.--Investigation                                   92

Abuses Recognized.--Reforms of Council of Vienne                      94

Election of John XXII.                                                98

The Inquisition Triumphs.--Fate of Bernard Délicieux                  99

Recrudescence of Heresy.--Pierre Autier                              104

Bernard Gui Extirpates Catharism                                     107

Case of Limoux Noir                                                  108

Results of the Triumph of the Inquisition                            109

Political Effects of Confiscation                                    110


Inquisition Introduced in 1233 by Frère Robert le Bugre              113

Opposed by the Prelates.--Encouraged by St. Louis                    115

Robert’s Insane Massacres and Punishment                             116

Inquisition Organized.--Its Activity in 1248                         117

Slender Records of its Proceedings                                   120

Paris _Auto de fé_ in 1310.--Marguerite la Porete                    123

Gradual Decadence.--Case of Hugues Aubriot                           125

The Parlement Assumes Superior Jurisdiction                          130

The University of Paris Supplants the Inquisition                    135

Moribund Activity during the Fifteenth Century                       138

Attempt to Resuscitate it in 1451                                    140

It Falls into utter Discredit                                        144

The French Waldenses.--Their Number and Organization                 145

  Intermittent Persecution.--Their Doctrines                         147

  François Borel and Gregory XI.                                     152

  Renewed Persecutions in 1432 and 1441                              157

  Protected by Louis XI.--Humiliation of the Inquisition             158

  Alternations of Toleration and Persecution                         159


ARAGON.--Unimportance of Heresy there                                162

  Episcopal and Lay Inquisition Tried in 1233                        163

  Papal Inquisition Introduced.--Navarre Included                    165

  Delay in Organization                                              167

  Greater Vigor in the Fourteenth Century                            169

  Dispute over the Blood of Christ                                   171

  Nicolas Eymerich                                                   174

  Separation of Majorca and Valencia                                 177

  Decline of Inquisition                                             178

  Resuscitation under Ferdinand the Catholic                         179

CASTILE.--Inquisition not Introduced there                           180

  Cathari in Leon                                                    181

  Independent Legislation of Alonso the Wise                         183

  Persecution for Heresy Unknown                                     184

  Case of Pedro of Osma in 1479                                      187

PORTUGAL.--No Effective Inquisition there                            188


Political Conditions Favoring Heresy                                 191

Prevalence of Unconcealed Catharism                                  192

Development of the Waldenses                                         194

Popular Indifference to the Church                                   196

Gregory XI. Undertakes to Suppress Heresy                            199

Gradual Development of Inquisition                                   201

Rolando da Cremona                                                   202

Giovanni Schio da Vicenza                                            203

St. Peter Martyr                                                     207

He Provokes Civil War in Florence                                    210

Death of Frederic II. in 1250.--Chief Obstacle Removed               213

Assassination of St. Peter Martyr.--Use Made of it                   214

Rainerio Saccone                                                     218

Triumph of the Papacy.--Organization of the Inquisition              220

Heresy Protected by Ezzelin and Uberto                               223

Ezzelin Prosecuted as a Heretic.--His Death                          224

Uberto Pallavicino                                                   228

The Angevine Conquest of Naples Revolutionizes Italy                 231

Triumph of Persecution                                               233

Sporadic Popular Opposition                                          237

Secret Strength of Heresy.--Case of Armanno Pongilupo                239

Power of the Inquisition.--Papal Interference                        242

Naples.--Toleration Under Normans and Hohenstaufens                  244

  The Inquisition Under the Angevines                                245

Sicily                                                               248

Venice.--Its Independence                                            249

  Inquisition Introduced in 1288, under State Supervision            251

Decadence of Inquisition in Fourteenth Century                       253

Disappearance of the Cathari.--Persistence of the Waldenses          254

Remnants of Catharism in Corsica and Piedmont                        255

Persecution of the Waldenses of Piedmont                             259

Decline of the Lombard Inquisition                                   269

Venice.--Subjection of Inquisition to the State                      273

Tuscany.--Increasing Insubordination.--Case of Piero di Aquila       275

  Continued Troubles in Florence                                     280

  Tommasino da Foligno                                               281

Decline of Inquisition in Central Italy                              282

The Two Sicilies.--Inquisition Subordinate to the State              284


Efforts of Innocent III. and Honorius III. East of the Adriatic      290

The Mendicant Orders Undertake the Task                              293

Bloody Crusades from Hungary                                         294

Revival of Catharism                                                 298

Endeavors of Boniface VIII. and John XXII.                           299

Fruitlessness of the Work                                            301

Reign of Stephen Tvrtko                                              303

Catharism the State Religion                                         305

Advance of the Turks                                                 306

Confusion Aggravated by Persecution                                  307

The Cathari Aid the Turkish Conquest                                 313

Disappearance of Catharism                                           314


Persecution of Strassburg Waldenses in 1212                          316

Spread of Waldensianism in Germany                                   318

Mystic Pantheism.--The Amaurians and Ortlibenses                     319

Brethren of the Free Spirit or Beghards.--Luciferans                 323

Conrad of Marburg.--His Character and Career                         325

Gregory XI. Vainly Stimulates him to Persecution                     329

Gregory Commissions the Dominicans as Inquisitors                    333

The Luciferan Heresy                                                 334

Conrad’s Methods and Massacres                                       336

Antagonism of the Prelates                                           338

Assembly of Mainz.--Conrad’s Defeat and Murder                       340

Persecution Ceases.--The German Church Antagonistic to Rome          342

The Reaction Keeps the Inquisition out of Germany                    346

Waldenses and Inquisition in Passau                                  347

Growth of Heresy.--Virtual Toleration                                348

The Beguines, Beghards, and Lollards                                 350

The Brethren of the Free Spirit                                      354

Tendency to Mysticism.--Master Eckart                                358

John of Rysbroek, Gerard Groot, and the Brethren of the Common Life  360

John Tauler and the Friends of God                                   362

Persecution of the Brethren of the Free Spirit                       367

Antagonism between Louis of Bavaria and the Papacy                   377

Subservience of Charles IV.--The Black Death                         378

Gregarious Enthusiasm.--The Flagellants                              380

Clement VI. Condemns Them.--They Become Heretics                     383

Attempts to Introduce the Inquisition.--Successful in 1369           385

Persecution of Flagellants and Beghards.--The Dancing Mania          390

Beghards and Beguines Protected by the Prelates                      394

Speedy Decline of the Inquisition                                    395

The Waldenses.--Their Extension and Persecution                      396

Renewed Persecution of the Beghards                                  401

William of Hilderniss, and the Men of Intelligence                   405

The Flagellants.--The Brethren of the Cross                          406

Triumph of the Beghards at Constance                                 409

Renewed Persecution                                                  411

Hussitism in Germany.--Coalescence with Waldenses                    414

Gregory of Heimburg                                                  417

Hans of Niklaushausen                                                418

John von Ruchrath of Wesel                                           420

Decay of the Inquisition.--John Reuchlin                             423

Its Impotence in the Case of Luther                                  425


Independence of Bohemian Church.--Waldensianism                      427

Inquisition Introduced in 1257.--Revived by John XXII.               428

Growth of Waldensianism.--John of Pirna                              430

Conditions Favoring the Growth of Heresy.--Episcopal Inquisition     433

The Precursors of Huss                                               436

Wickliff and Wickliffitism                                           438

John Huss Becomes the Leader of Reform                               444

Progress of the Revolution.--Rupture with Rome                       445

Convocation of the Council of Constance                              453

Motives Impelling Huss’s Presence                                    455

His Reception and Treatment                                          457

His Arrest.--Question of the Safe-conduct                            460

Communion in both Elements                                           471

The Trial of Huss.--Illustration of the Inquisitorial Process        473

Exceptional Audiences Allowed to Huss                                484

Extraordinary Efforts to Procure Recantation                         486

The Inevitable Condemnation and Burning                              490

Indignation in Bohemia                                               494

Jerome of Prague.--His Trial and Execution                           495


Inquisitorial Methods Attempted in Bohemia                           506

Increasing Antagonism.--Fruitless Threats of Force                   508

Parties Form Themselves.--Calixtins and Taborites                    511

Sigismund Succeeds to the Throne.--Failure of Negotiations           514

Crusade Preached in 1420.--Its Repulse                               516

Religious Extravagance.--Pikardi, Chiliasts                          517

The Four Articles of the Calixtins                                   519

Creed of the Taborites                                               522

Failure of Repeated Crusades.--The Hussites Retaliate                525

Efforts to Reform the Church.--Council of Siena                      527

Council of Basle.--Negotiation with the Hussites a Necessity         530

The Four Articles the Basis.--Accepted as the “Compactata”           533

The Taborites Crushed at Lipan                                       535

Difficulties Caused by Rokyzana’s Ambition                           536

Insincere Peace.--Sigismund’s Reactionary Reign and Death            538

The Calixtins Secure Control under George Podiebrad                  541

Rome Disavows the Compactata.--Giacomo della Marca in Hungary        542

The Use of the Cup the Only Distinction.--Capistrano Sent as
Inquisitor                                                           545

His Projected Hussite Crusade Impeded by the Capture of
Constantinople                                                       551

Efforts to Resist the Turks.--Death of Capistrano at Belgrade        552

Steady Estrangement of Bohemia.--Negotiations and Attacks            555

The Compactata Maintained in Spite of Rome                           559

The Bohemian Brethren Arise from the Remains of the Taborites        561

Their Union with the Waldenses                                       564

Their Growth and Constancy under Persecution                         566

APPENDIX OF DOCUMENTS                                                569






The men who laid the foundations of the Inquisition in Languedoc had
before them an apparently hopeless task. The whole organization and
procedure of the institution were to be developed as experience might
dictate and without precedents for guidance. Their uncertain and
undefined powers were to be exercised under peculiar difficulties.
Heresy was everywhere and all-pervading. An unknown but certainly large
portion of the population was addicted to Catharism or Waldensianism,
while even the orthodox could not, for the most part, be relied upon for
sympathy or aid. Practical toleration had existed for so many
generations, and so many families had heretic members, that the
population at large was yet to be educated in the holy horror of
doctrinal aberrations. National feeling, moreover, and the memory of
common wrongs suffered during twenty years of bitter contest with
invading soldiers of the Cross, during which Catholic and Catharan had
stood side by side in defence of the fatherland, had created the
strongest bonds of sympathy between the different sects. In the cities
the magistrates were, if not heretics, inclined to toleration and
jealous of their municipal rights and liberties. Throughout the country
many powerful nobles were avowedly or secretly heretics, and Raymond of
Toulouse himself was regarded as little better than a heretic. The
Inquisition was the symbol of a hated foreign domination which could
look for no cordial support from any of these classes. It was welcomed,
indeed, by such Frenchmen as had succeeded in planting themselves in the
land, but they were scattered, and were themselves the objects of
detestation to their neighbors. The popular feeling is voiced by the
Troubadours, who delight in expressing contempt for the French and
hostility to the friars and their methods. As Guillem de Montanagout
says: “Now have the clerks become inquisitors and condemn men at their
pleasure. I have naught against the inquests if they would but condemn
errors with soft words, lead the wanderers back to the faith without
wrath, and allow the penitent to find mercy.” The bolder Pierre
Cardinal describes the Dominicans as disputing after dinner over the
quality of their wines: “They have created a court of judgment, and
whoever attacks them they declare to be a Waldensian; they seek to
penetrate into the secrets of all men, so as to render themselves

The lands which Raymond had succeeded in retaining were, moreover,
drained by the enormous sums exacted of him in the pacification. To
enable him to meet these demands he was authorized to levy taxes on the
subjects of the Church, in spite of their immunities, and this and the
other expedients requisite for the discharge of his engagements could
not fail to excite widespread discontent with the settlement and
hostility to all that represented it. That it was hard to extort these
payments from a population exhausted by twenty years of war is manifest
when, in 1231, two years after the treaty, the Abbey of Citeaux had not
as yet received any part of the two thousand marks which were its share
of the plunder, and it was forced to agree to a settlement under which
Raymond promised to pay in annual instalments of two hundred marks,
giving as security his revenues from the manor of Marmande.[2]

The Inquisition, it is true, was at first warmly greeted by the Church,
but the Church had grown so discredited during the events of the past
half-century that its influence was less than in any other spot in
Christendom. Even in Aragon the Council of Tarragona, in 1238, felt
itself compelled to decree excommunication against those who composed or
applauded lampoons against the clergy. The abuse of the interdict had
grown to such proportions that Innocent IV., in 1243, and again in 1245,
was obliged to forbid its employment throughout southern France, in all
places suspected of heresy, because it afforded to heretics so manifold
an occasion of asserting that it was used for private interests, and not
for the salvation of souls. During the troubles which followed after the
crusade of Louis VIII. the bishops had taken advantage of the confusion
to seize many lands to which they had no claim, and this involved them
in endless quarrels with the royal fisc in the territories which fell to
the king, while in those which remained to Raymond, the pious St. Louis
was forced to interfere to obtain for him a restoration of what they
obstinately refused to surrender. The Church itself was so deeply
tainted with heresy that the faithful were scandalized at seeing the
practical immunity enjoyed by heretical clerks, owing to the difficulty
of assembling a sufficient number of bishops to officiate at their
degradation, and Gregory IX. felt it necessary, in 1233, to decree that
in such cases a single bishop, with some of his abbots, should have
power to deprive them of holy orders and deliver them to the secular arm
to be burned--a provision which he subsequently embodied in the canon
law. Innocent IV., moreover, in 1245, felt called upon to order his
legate in Languedoc to see that no one suspected of heresy was elected
or consecrated as bishop. On the other hand, priests who were zealous in
aiding the Inquisition sometimes found that the enmities thus excited
rendered it impossible for them to reside in their parishes, as occurred
in the case of Guillem Pierre, a priest of Narbonne, in 1246, who on
this account was allowed to employ a vicar and to hold a plurality of
benefices. About the same time Innocent IV. felt obliged to express his
surprise that the prelates disobeyed his repeated commands to assist the
Inquisition; he has trustworthy information that they neglect to do so,
and he threatens them roundly with his displeasure unless they manifest
greater zeal. Bernard Gui, indeed, speaks of the bishops who favored
Count Raymond as among the craftiest and most dangerous enemies of the
inquisitors. The natural antagonism between the Mendicants and the
secular clergy was, moreover, increased by the pretension of the
inquisitors to supervise the priesthood and see that they performed
their neglected duty in all that pertained to the extension of the
faith. That under such circumstances the Dominicans employed in the
pious work should suffer constant molestation scarce needs the
explanation given by the pope that it was through the influence of the
Arch Enemy.[3]

Another serious impediment to the operations of the Inquisition lay in
the absence of places of detention for those accused and of prisons for
those condemned. We have already seen how the bishops shirked their duty
in providing jails for the multitudes of prisoners until St. Louis was
obliged to step in and construct them, and during this prolonged
interval the sentences of the inquisitors show, in the number of
contumacious absentees after a preliminary hearing, how impossible it
often was to retain hold of heretics who had been arrested.[4]

To undertake, in such an environment, the apparently hopeless task of
suppressing heresy required men of exceptional character, and they were
not wanting. Repulsive as their acts must seem to us, we cannot refuse
to them the tribute due to their fearless fanaticism. No labor was too
arduous for their unflagging zeal, no danger too great for their
unshrinking courage. Regarding themselves as elected to perform God’s
work, they set about it with a sublime self-confidence which lifted them
above the weakness of humanity. As the mouthpiece of God, the mendicant
friar, who lived on charity, spoke to prince and people with all the
awful authority of the Church, and exacted obedience or punished
contumacy unhesitatingly and absolutely. Such men as Pierre Cella,
Guillem Arnaud, Arnaud Catala, Ferrer the Catalan, Pons de Saint-Gilles,
Pons de l’Esparre, and Bernard de Caux, bearded prince and prelate, were
as ready to endure as merciless to inflict, were veritable Maccabees in
the internecine strife with heresy, and yet were kind and pitiful to the
miserable and overflowing with tears in their prayers and discourses.
They were the culminating development of the influences which produced
the Church Militant of the Middle Ages, and in their hands the
Inquisition was the most effective instrument whereby it maintained its
supremacy. A secondary result was the complete subjugation of the South
to the King of Paris, and its unification with the rest of France.

If the faithful had imagined that the Treaty of 1229 had ended the
contest with heresy they were quickly undeceived. The blood-money for
the capture of heretics, promised by Count Raymond, was indeed paid when
earned, for the Inquisition undertook to see that this was done, but the
earning of it was dangerous. Nobles and burghers alike protected and
defended the proscribed class, and those who hunted them were slain
without mercy when occasion offered. The heretics continued as numerous
as ever, and we have already seen the fruitless efforts put forth by the
Cardinal Legate Romano and the Council of Toulouse. Even the university
which Raymond bound himself to establish in Toulouse for the propagation
of the faith, though it subsequently performed its work, was at first a
failure. Learned theologians were brought from Paris to fill its chairs,
but their scholastic subtleties were laughed at by the mocking Southrons
as absurd novelties, and the heretics were bold enough to contend with
them in debate. After a few years Raymond neglected to continue the
stipends, and for a time the university was suspended.[5]

The most encouraging feature of the situation, one, indeed, full of
promise, was the steady progress of the Dominican Order. It had outgrown
the modest Church of St. Romano, bestowed upon it by Bishop Foulques;
and in 1230 the piety of a prominent burgher of Toulouse, Pons de
Capdenier, provided for it more commodious quarters in an extensive
garden, situated partly in the city and partly in the suburbs. The
inmates of the convent, some forty in number, were always ready to
furnish champions of the Cross, whose ardent zeal shrank from neither
toil nor peril; and when, in 1232, the fanatic Bishop Foulques died and
was succeeded by the yet more fiery fanatic, the Dominican Provincial
Raymond du Fauga, the Order was fully prepared to enter upon the
exterminating war with heresy which was to last for a hundred years.[6]

The eager zeal of the friars did not wait to be armed with the organized
authorization of inquisitorial powers. Their leading duty was to combat
heresy, and their assaults on it were unintermitting. In 1231 a friar,
in a sermon, declared that Toulouse was full of heretics, who held their
assemblies there and disseminated their errors without hindrance.
Already the magistrates seem to have looked askance on these pious
efforts, for this assertion was made the occasion of a decided attempt
at repression. The consuls of the city met and summoned before them, in
the capitole, or town-hall, the prior, Pierre d’Alais. There they
roundly scolded and threatened him, declaring that it was false to
assert the existence of heresy in the town, and forbidding such
utterances for the future. Trivial as was the occurrence, it has
interest as the commencement of the ill-will between the authorities of
Toulouse and the Inquisition, and as illustrating the sense of municipal
pride and independence still cherished in the cities of the South. It
required but a few years’ struggle to trammel the civic liberties which
had held their own against feudalism, but which could not stand against
the subtler despotism of the Church.[7]

Even thus early Dominican ardor refused to be thus restrained. Master
Roland of Cremona, noted as the first Dominican licentiate of the
University of Paris, who had been brought to Toulouse to teach theology
in the infant University, was scandalized when he heard of the insolent
language of the consuls, and exclaimed that it was only a fresh
incentive to preach against heresy more bitterly than ever. He set the
example in this, and was eagerly followed by many of the brethren. He
soon, too, had an opportunity of proving the falsity of the consuls’
disclaimer. It transpired that Jean Pierre Donat, a canon of the ancient
Church of Saint Sernin, who had recently died and been buried in the
cloister, had been secretly hereticated on his death-bed. Without
authority, and apparently without legal investigation, Master Roland
assembled some friars and clerks, exhumed the body from the cloister,
dragged it through the streets, and publicly burned it. Soon afterwards
he heard of the death of a prominent Waldensian minister named Galvan.
After stirring up popular passion in a sermon, he marched at the head of
a motley mob to the house where the heretic had died and levelled it to
the ground; then proceeding to the Cemetery of Villeneuve, where the
body was interred, he dug it up and dragged it through the city,
accompanied by an immense procession, to the public place of execution
beyond the walls, where it was solemnly burned.[8]

All this was volunteer persecution. The episcopal court was as yet the
only tribunal having power to act in such matters, and it, as we have
seen, could only authorize the secular arm to do its duty in the final
execution. Yet the episcopal court seems to have been in no way invoked
in these proceedings, and no protest is recorded as having been uttered
against such irregular enforcements of the law by the mob. There was, in
fact, no organization for the steady repression of heresy. Bishop
Raymond appears to have satisfied himself with an occasional raid
against heretics outside of the city, and to have allowed those within
it virtual immunity under the protection of the consuls, though he had,
in virtue of his office, all the powers requisite for the purpose, and
the machinery for their effective use could have readily been developed.
No permanent results were to be expected from fitful bursts of zeal, and
the suppression of heresy might well seem to be as far off as ever.

Urgent as was evidently the need of some organized body devoted
exclusively to persecution, the appointment of the first inquisitors,
in 1233, seems not to have been regarded as possessing any special
significance. It was merely an experiment, from which no great results
were anticipated. Frère Guillem Pelisson, who shared in the labors and
perils of the nascent Inquisition, and who enthusiastically chronicled
them, evidently does not consider it as an innovation worthy of
particular attention. It was so natural an evolution from the
interaction of the forces and materials of the period, and its future
importance was so little suspected, that he passes over its founding as
an incident of less moment than the succession to the Priory of
Toulouse. “Frère Pons de Saint Gilles,” he says, “was made Prior of
Toulouse, who bore himself manfully and effectively for the faith
against the heretics, together with Frère Pierre Cella of Toulouse and
Frère Guillem Arnaud of Montpellier, whom the lord pope made inquisitors
against the heretics in the dioceses of Toulouse and Cahors. Also, the
Legate Archbishop of Vienne made Frère Arnaud Catala, who was then of
the Convent of Toulouse, inquisitor against the heretics.” Thus
colorless is the only contemporary account of the establishment of the
Holy Office.[9]

How little the functions of these new officials were at first understood
is manifested by an occurrence, which is also highly suggestive of the
tension of public feeling. In a quarrel between two citizens, one of
them, Bernard Peitevin, called the other, Bernard de Solier, a heretic.
This was a dangerous reputation to have, and the offended man summoned
his antagonist before the consuls. The heretical party, we are told, had
obtained the upper hand in Toulouse, and the magistrates were all either
sympathizers with or believers in heresy. Bernard Peitevin was condemned
to exile for a term of years, to pay a fine both to the complainant and
to the city, and to swear publicly in the town-hall that he had lied,
and that de Solier was a good Catholic. The sentence was a trifle
vindictive, and Peitevin sought counsel of the Dominicans, who
recommended him to appeal to the bishop. Episcopal jurisdiction in such
a matter was perhaps doubtful, but Raymond du Fauga entertained the
appeal. A few years later, if any cognizance had been taken of the case
it would have been by the Inquisition, but now the inquisitors, Pierre
Cella and Guillem Arnaud, appeared as advocates of the appellant in the
bishop’s court, and so clearly proved de Solier’s heresy that the
miserable wretch fled to Lombardy.[10]

Similar indefiniteness of procedure is visible in the next attempt. The
inquisitors, Pierre and Guillem, began to make an inquest through the
city, and cited numerous suspects, all of whom found defenders among the
chief citizens. The hearings took place before them, but seem as yet to
have been in public. One of the accused, named Jean Teisseire, asserted
himself to be a good Catholic because he had no scruples in maintaining
marital relations with his wife, in eating flesh, and in lying and
swearing, and he warned the crowd that they were liable to the same
charge, and that it would be wiser for them to make common cause than to
abandon him. When he was condemned, and the viguier, the official
representative of the count, was about to conduct him to the stake, so
threatening a clamor arose that the prisoner was hurried to the bishop’s
prison, still proclaiming his orthodoxy. Intense excitement pervaded the
city, and menaces were freely uttered to destroy the Dominican convent
and to stone all the friars, who were accused of persecuting the
innocent. While in prison Teisseire pretended to fall mortally sick, and
asked for the sacraments; but when the bailli of Lavaur brought to
Toulouse some perfected heretics and delivered them to the bishop,
Teisseire allowed himself to be hereticated by them in prison, and grew
so ardent in the faith under their exhortations that when they were
taken out for examination he accompanied them, declaring that he would
share their fate. The bishop assembled the magistrates and many
citizens, in whose presence he examined the prisoners. They were all
condemned, including Teisseire, who obstinately refused to recant, and
no further opposition was offered when they were all duly burned.[11]

Here we see the inquisitorial jurisdiction completely subordinate to
that of the bishop, but when the inquisitors soon afterwards left
Toulouse to hold inquests elsewhere they acted with full independence.
At Cahors we hear nothing of the Bishop of Querci taking part in the
proceedings under which they condemned a number of the dead, exhuming
and burning their bodies, and inspiring such fear that a prominent
believer, Raymond de Broleas, fled to Rome. At Moissac they condemned
Jean du Gard, who fled to Montségur, and they cited a certain Folquet,
who, in terror, entered the convent of Belleperche as a Cistercian monk,
and, finding that this was of no avail, finally fled to Lombardy.
Meanwhile Frère Arnaud Catala and our chronicler, Guillem Pelisson,
descended upon Albi, where they penanced a dozen citizens by ordering
them to Palestine, and in conjunction with another inquisitor, Guillem
de Lombers, burned two heretics, Pierre de Puechperdut and Pierre

The absence of the inquisitors from Toulouse made no difference in the
good work, for their duties were assumed by their prior, Pons de
Saint-Gilles. Under what authority he acted is not stated, but we find
him, in conjunction with another friar, trying and condemning a certain
Arnaud Sancier, who was burned, in spite of his protests to the last
that he was a good Catholic, causing great agitation in the city, but no
tumultuous uprising.[13]

The terror which Pelisson boasts that these proceedings spread through
the land was probably owing not only to the evidence they afforded of an
organized system of persecution, but also to their introduction of a
much more effective method of prosecution than had heretofore been
known. The “heretic,” so called, was the perfected teacher who
disdained to deny his faith, and his burning was accepted by all as a
matter of course, as also was that of the “credens,” or believer, who
was defiantly contumacious and persisted in admitting and adhering to
his creed. Hitherto, however, the believer who professed orthodoxy seems
generally to have escaped, in the imperfection of the judicial means of
proving his guilt. The friars, trained in the subtleties of disputation
and learned in both civil and canon law, were specially fitted for the
detection of this particularly dangerous secret misbelief, and their
persistence in worrying their victims to the death was well calculated
to spread alarm, not only among the guilty, but among the innocent.

How reasonable were the fears inspired by the speedy informality of the
justice accorded to the heretic is well illustrated by a case occurring
in 1234. When the canonization of St. Dominic was announced in Toulouse
it was celebrated in a solemn mass performed by Bishop Raymond in the
Dominican convent. St. Dominic, however, desired to mark the occasion
with some more edifying manifestation of his peculiar functions, and
caused word to be brought to the bishop, as the latter was leaving the
church for the refectory to partake of a meal, that a woman had just
been hereticated in a house hard by, in the Rue de l’Olmet sec. The
bishop, with the prior and some others, hurried thither. It was the
house of Peitavin Borsier, the general messenger of the heretics of
Toulouse, whose mother-in-law lay dying of fever. So sudden was the
entrance of the intruders that the woman’s friends could only tell her
“the bishop is coming,” and she, who expected a visit from the heretic
bishop, was easily led on by Raymond to make a full declaration of her
heresy and to pledge herself to be steadfast in it. Then, revealing
himself, he ordered her to recant, and, on her refusal, he summoned the
viguier, condemned her as a heretic, and had the satisfaction of seeing
the dying creature carried off on her bed and burned at the place of
execution. Borsier and his colleague, Bernard Aldric of Drémil, were
captured, and betrayed many of their friends; and then Raymond and the
friars returned to their neglected dinner, giving thanks to God and to
St. Dominic for so signal a manifestation in favor of the faith.[14]

The ferocious exultation with which these extra-judicial horrors were
perpetrated is well reflected in a poem of the period by Isarn, the
Dominican Prior of Villemier. He represents himself as disputing with
Sicard de Figueras, a Catharan bishop, and each of his theological
arguments is clinched with a threat--

    “E’ s’aquest no vols creyre vec te ’l foc aizinat
       Que art tos companhos,
     Aras vuelh que m’respondas en un mot o en dos,
     Si cauziras et foc o remanras ab nos.”

“If you will not believe this, look at that raging fire which is
consuming your comrades. Now I wish you to reply to me in one word or
two, for you will burn in the fire or join us.” Or again, “If you do
not confess at once, the flames are already lighted; your name is
proclaimed throughout the city with the blast of trumpets, and the
people are gathering to see you burn.” In this terrible poem, Isarn
only turned into verse what he felt in his own heart, and what he saw
passing under his eyes almost daily.[15]

As the holy work assumed shape and its prospects of results grew more
encouraging, the zeal of the hunters of men increased, while the fear
and hatred of the hunted became more threatening. On both sides passion
was fanned into flame. Already, in 1233, two Dominicans, sent to Cordes
to seek out heretics, had been slain by the terrified citizens. At Albi
the people, excited by the burning of the two heretics already referred
to, rose, June 14, 1234, when Arnaud Catala ordered the episcopal bailli
to dig up the bones of a heretic woman named Beissera whom he had
condemned. The bailli sent back word that he dared not do it. Arnaud
left the episcopal synod in which he was sitting, coolly went to the
cemetery, himself gave the first strokes of the mattock, and then,
ordering the officials to proceed with the work, returned to the synod.
The officials quickly rushed after him, saying that they had been
ejected from the burial-ground by the mob. Arnaud returned and found it
occupied by a crowd of howling sons of Belial, who quickly closed in on
him, striking him in the face and pummelling him on all sides, with
shouts of “Kill him! he has no right to live!” Some endeavored to drag
him into the shops hard by to slay him; others wished to throw him into
the river Tarn, but he was rescued and taken back to the synod, followed
by a mass of men fiercely shouting for his death. The whole city,
indeed, seemed to be of one mind, and many of the principal burghers
were leaders of the tumult. It is satisfactory to learn that, although
Arnaud mercifully withdrew the excommunication which he launched at the
rebellious city, his successor, Frère Ferrer, wrought the judgment of
God upon the guilty, imprisoning many of them and burning others.[16]

In Narbonne disturbances arose even more serious, although special
inquisitors had not yet been sent there. In March, 1234, the Dominican
prior, François Ferrer, undertook a volunteer inquisition and threw in
prison a citizen named Raymond d’Argens. Fifteen years previous the
artisans of the suburb had organized a confederation for mutual support
called the Amistance, and this body arose as one man and forcibly
rescued the prisoner. The archbishop, Pierre Amiel, and the viscount,
Aimery of Narbonne, undertook to rearrest him, but found his house
guarded by the Amistance, which rushed upon their followers with shouts
of “Kill! kill!” and drove them away after a brief skirmish, in which
the prior was badly handled. The archbishop had recourse to
excommunication and interdict, but to little purpose, for the Amistance
seized his domains and drove him from the city. Both sides sought
allies. Gregory IX. appealed to King Jayme of Aragon, while a complaint
from the consuls of Narbonne to those of Nimes looks as though they were
endeavoring to effect a confederation of the cities against the
Inquisition, of whose arbitrary and illegal methods of procedure they
give abundant details. A kind of truce was patched up in October, but
the troubles recommenced when the prior, in obedience to an order from
his provincial, undertook a fresh inquisition, and made a number of
arrests. In December a suspension was obtained by the citizens appealing
to the pope, the king, and the legate, but in 1235 the people rose
against the Dominicans, drove them from the city, sacked their convent,
and destroyed all the records of the proceedings against heresy.
Archbishop Pierre had cunningly separated the city from the suburb,
about equal in population, by confining the inquisition to the latter,
and this bore fruit in his securing the armed support of the former. The
suburb placed itself under the protection of Count Raymond, who, nothing
loath to aggravate the trouble, came there and gave to the people as
leaders Olivier de Termes and Guiraud de Niort, two notorious defenders
of heretics. A bloody civil war broke out between the two sections,
which lasted until April, 1237, when a truce for a year was agreed upon.
In the following August the Count of Toulouse and the Seneschal of
Carcassonne were called in as arbitrators, and in March, 1238, a peace
was concluded. That the Church triumphed is shown by the conditions
which imposed upon some of the participators in the troubles a year’s
service in Palestine or against the Moors of Spain.[17]

In Toulouse, the centre both of heresy and persecution, in spite of
mutterings and menaces, open opposition to the Inquisition was postponed
longer than elsewhere. Although Count Raymond is constantly represented
by the Church party as the chief opponent of the Holy Office, it was
probably his influence that succeeded in staving off so long the
inevitable rupture. Hard experience from childhood could scarce have
rendered him a fervent Catholic, yet that experience had shown him that
the favor and protection of the Church were indispensable if he would
retain the remnant of territory and power that had been left to him. He
could not as yet be at heart a persecutor of heresy, yet he could not
afford to antagonize the Church. It was important for him to retain the
love and good-will of his subjects and to prevent the desolation of his
cities and lordships, but it was yet more important for him to escape
the stigma of favoring heresy, and to avoid calling down upon his head a
renewal of the storm in which he had been so nearly wrecked. Few princes
have had a more difficult part to play, with dangers besetting him on
every side, and if he earned the reputation of a trimmer without
religious convictions, that reputation and his retention of his position
till his death are perhaps the best proof of the fundamental wisdom
which guided his necessarily tortuous course. Pierre Cardinal, the
Troubadour, describes him as defending himself from the assaults of the
worst of men, as fearing neither the Frenchman nor the ecclesiastic, and
as humble only with the good.[18]

He was always at odds with his prelates. Intricate questions with regard
to the temporalities were a constant source of quarrel, and he lived
under a perpetual reduplication of excommunications, for he had been so
long under the ban of the Church that no bishop hesitated for a moment
in anathematizing him. Then, one of the conditions of the treaty of 1229
had been that within two years he should proceed to Palestine and wage
war there with the infidel for five years. The two years had passed away
without his performing the vow; the state of the country at no time
seemed to render so prolonged an absence safe, and for years a leading
object of his policy was to obtain a postponement of his crusade or
immunity for the non-observance of his vow. Moreover, from the date of
the peace of Paris until the end of his life he earnestly and vainly
endeavored to obtain from Rome permission for the sepulture of his
father’s body. These complications crippled him in multitudinous ways
and exposed him to immense disadvantage in his fencing with the

As early as 1230 he was taxed by the legate with inobservance of the
conditions of the peace, and was forced to promise amendment of his
ways. In 1232 we see Gregory IX. imperiously ordering him to be
energetic in the duty of persecution, and, possibly in obedience to
this, during the same year, we find him personally accompanying Bishop
Raymond of Toulouse in a nocturnal expedition among the mountains, which
was rewarded with the capture of nineteen perfected heretics, male and
female, including one of their most important leaders, Pagan, Seigneur
de Bécède, whose castle we saw captured in 1227. All these expiated
their errors at the stake. Yet not long afterwards the Bishop of
Tournay, as papal legate, assembled the prelates of Languedoc and
formally cited Raymond before King Louis to answer for his slackness in
carrying out the provisions of the treaty. The result of this was the
drawing up of severe enactments against heretics, which he was obliged
to promulgate in February, 1234. In spite of this, and of a letter from
Gregory to the bishops ordering them no longer to excommunicate him so
freely as before, he was visited within a twelvemonth with two fresh
excommunications, for purely temporal causes. Then came fresh urgency
from the pope for the extirpation of heresy, with which Raymond
doubtless made a show of compliance, as his heart was bent on obtaining
from Rome a restoration of the Marquisate of Provence. In this he was
strongly backed by King Louis, whose brother Alfonse was to be Raymond’s
heir, and towards the close of the year he sought an interview with
Gregory and succeeded in effecting it. His reconciliation with the
papacy appeared to be complete. His military reputation stood high, and
Gregory made use of his visit to confide to him the leadership of the
papal troops in a campaign against the rebellious citizens of Rome, who
had expelled the head of the Church from their city. Though he did not
succeed in restoring the pope, they parted on the best of terms, and he
returned to Toulouse as a favored son of the Church, ready on all points
to obey her behests.[19]

There he found matters rapidly approaching a crisis which tested to the
utmost his skill in temporizing. Passions on both sides were rising to
an uncontrollable point. At Easter, 1235, the promise of grace for
voluntary confession brought forward such crowds of penitent heretics
that the Dominicans were insufficient to take their testimony, and were
obliged to call in the aid of the Franciscans and of all the parish
priests of the city. Encouraged by this, the prior, Pons de
Saint-Gilles, commenced to seize those who had not come forward
spontaneously. Among these was a certain Arnaud Dominique, who, to save
his life, promised to betray eleven heretics residing in a house at
Cassers. This he fulfilled, though four of them escaped through the aid
of the neighboring peasants, and he was set at liberty. The
long-suffering of the heretics, however, was at last exhausted, and
shortly afterwards he was murdered in his bed at Aigrefeuille by the
friends of those whom he had thus sacrificed. Still more significant of
the dangerous tension of popular feeling was a mob which, under the
guidance of two leading citizens, forcibly rescued Pierre-Guillem Delort
from the hands of the viguier and of the Abbot of Saint-Sernin, who had
arrested him and were conveying him to prison. The situation was
becoming unbearable, and soon the ceremony of dragging through the
streets and burning the bodies of some dead heretics aroused an
agitation so general and so menacing that Count Raymond was sent for in
hopes that his interposition might avert the most deplorable
consequences. Thus far, although perhaps somewhat lacking in alacrity of
persecution, no serious charges could be laid against him. His
officials, his baillis and viguiers, had responded to all appeals of the
inquisitors and had lent the aid of the secular arm in seizing heretics,
in burning them, and in confiscating their property. Yet when he came to
Toulouse and begged the inquisitors to suspend for a time the vigor of
their operations he was not listened to. Then he turned to the papal
legate, Jean, Archbishop of Vienne, complaining specially of Pierre
Cella, whom he considered to be inspired with personal enmity to
himself, and whom he regarded as the chief author of the troubles. His
request that Cella’s operations should be confined to Querci was
granted. That inquisitor was sent to Cahors, where, with the assistance
of Pons Delmont and Guillem Pelisson he vigorously traversed the land
and forced multitudes to confess their guilt.[20]

This expedient was of no avail. Persecution continued as aggressive as
ever, and popular indignation steadily rose. The inevitable crisis soon
came which should determine whether the Inquisition should sink into
insignificance, as had been the case with so many previous efforts, or
whether it should triumph over all opposition and become the dominating
power in the land.

Guillem Arnaud was in no way abashed by the banishment of his colleague.
Returning from a brief absence at Carcassonne, of which more anon, he
summoned for trial as believers twelve of the leading citizens of
Toulouse, one of them a consul. They refused to appear, and threatened
him with violence unless he should desist. On his persisting, word was
sent him, with the assent of Count Raymond, that he must either leave
the city or abandon his functions as inquisitor. He took council with
his Dominican brethren, when it was unanimously agreed that he should
proceed manfully in his duty. The consuls then ejected him by force from
the city; he was accompanied to the bridge over the Garonne by all the
friars, and as he departed the consuls recorded a protest to the effect
that if he would desist from the inquisition he could remain; otherwise,
in the name of the count and in their own, they ordered him to leave the
city. He went to Carcassonne, whence he ordered the Prior of
Saint-Étienne and the parish priests to repeat the citations to the
parties already summoned. This order was bravely obeyed in spite of
threats, when the consuls sent for the prior and priests, and after
keeping them in the town-hall part of a night, expelled them from the
town, and publicly proclaimed that any one daring to repeat the
citations should be put to death, and that any one obeying the summons
of an inquisitor should answer for it in body and goods. Another
proclamation followed, in which the name of Count Raymond was used,
prohibiting that any one should give or sell anything to the bishop, the
Dominicans, or the canons of Saint-Étienne. This forced the bishop to
leave the city, as we are told that no one dared even to bake a loaf of
bread for him, and the populace, moreover, invaded his house, beat his
clerks, and stole his horses. The Dominicans fared better, for they had
friends hardy enough to supply them with necessaries, and when the
consuls posted guards around their house, still bread and cheese and
other food was thrown over their walls in spite of the arrest of some of
those engaged in it. Their principal suffering was from lack of water,
which had to be brought from the Garonne, and as this source of supply
was cut off, they were unable to boil their vegetables. For three weeks
they thus exultingly endured their martyrdom in a holy cause. Matters
became more serious when the indomitable Guillem Arnaud sent from
Carcassonne a letter to the prior saying, that as no one dared to cite
the contumacious citizens, he was forced to order two of the friars to
summon them to appear before him personally in Carcassonne to answer for
their faith, and that two others must accompany them as witnesses.
Tolling the convent bell, the prior assembled the brethren, and said to
them with a joyful countenance: “Brethren, rejoice, for I must send
four of you through martyrdom to the throne of the Most High. Such are
the commands of our brother, Guillem the inquisitor, and whoever obeys
them will be slain on the spot, as threatened by the consuls. Let those
who are ready to die for Christ ask pardon.” With a common impulse the
whole body cast themselves on the ground, which was the Dominican form
of asking pardon, and the prior selected four, Raymond de Foix, Jean de
Saint-Michel, Gui de Navarre, and Guillem Pelisson. These intrepidly
performed their duty, even penetrating when necessary into the
bed-chambers of the accused. Only in one house were they ill-treated,
and even there, when the sons of the person cited drew knives upon them,
the bystanders interfered.

There was evidently nothing to be done with men who thus courted
martyrdom. To gratify them would be suicidal, and the consuls decided to
expel them. On being informed of this the prior distributed among trusty
friends the books and sacred vessels and vestments of the convent. The
next day (Nov. 5 or 6, 1235) the friars, after mass, sat down to their
simple meal, during which the consuls came with a great crowd and
threatened to break in the door. The friars marched in procession to
their church, where they took their seats, and when the consuls entered
and commanded them to depart they refused. Then each was seized and
violently led forth, two of them who threw themselves on the ground near
the door being picked up by the hands and feet and carried out. Thus
they were accompanied through the town, but not otherwise maltreated,
and they turned the affair into a procession, marching two by two and
singing Te Deum and Salve Regina. At first they went to a farm belonging
to the church of Saint-Étienne, but the consuls posted guards to see
that nothing was furnished to them, and the next day the prior
distributed them among the convents of the province. That the whole
affair enlisted for them the sympathies of the faithful was shown by two
persons of consideration joining them and entering the Order while it
was going on.[21]

It is significant of the position which Guillem Arnaud’s steadfastness
had already won for his office that to him was conceded the vindication
of this series of outrages on the immunity of the Church. Bishop Raymond
had joined him in Carcassonne without anathematizing the authors of his
exile, but now the anathema promptly went forth, November 10, 1235,
uttered by the inquisitor with the names of the Bishops of Toulouse and
Carcassonne appended as assenting witnesses. It was confined to the
consuls, but Count Raymond was not allowed to escape the responsibility.
The excommunication was sent to the Franciscans of Toulouse for
publication, and when they obeyed they too were expelled, in no gentle
fashion, and the rebellious city was virtually left without
ecclesiastics. Further excommunications followed, now including the
count, and Prior Pons de Saint-Gilles hastened to Italy to pour the
story of his woes into the sympathizing ears of the pope and the sacred
college. Gregory assailed the count as the chief offender. A minatory
brief of April 28, 1236, addressed to him, is couched in the severest
language. He is held responsible for the audacious acts of the consuls;
he is significantly reminded of the unperformed vow of the crusade; not
only has he failed to extirpate heresy according to his pledges, but he
is a manifest fautor and protector of heretics; his favorites and
officers are suspect of heresy; he protects those who have been
condemned; his lands are a place of refuge for those flying from
persecution elsewhere, so that heresy is daily spreading and conversions
from Catholicism are frequent, while zealous churchmen seeking to
restrain them are slain and abused with impunity. All this he is
peremptorily ordered to correct and to sail with his knights to the Holy
Land in the “general passage” of the following March. It scarcely
needed the reminder, which the pope did not spare him, of the labors
which the Church and its Crusaders had undergone to purge his lands of
heresy. He had too keen a recollection of the abyss from which he had
escaped to risk another plunge. He had gone as far as he dared in the
effort to protect his subjects, and it were manifest folly to draw upon
his head and theirs another inroad of the marauders whom the pope with a
word could let loose upon him to earn salvation with the sword.[22]

The epistle to Raymond was accompanied with one to the legate,
instructing him to compel the count to make amends and perform the
crusade. To Frederic II. he wrote forbidding him to call on Raymond for
feudal services, as the count was under excommunication and virtually a
heretic, to which the emperor replied, reasonably enough, that, so long
as Raymond enjoyed possession of fiefs held under the empire,
excommunication should not confer on him the advantage of release from
their burdens. King Louis was also appealed to and was urged to hasten
the marriage between his brother Alfonse and Raymond’s daughter Jeanne.
With the spectre of all Europe in arms looming up before him Raymond
could do nothing but yield. When, therefore, the legate summoned him to
meet the inquisitors at Carcassonne he meekly went there and conferred
with them and the bishops. The conference ended with his promise to
return the bishop and friars and clergy to Toulouse, and this promise he
kept. The friars were duly reinstated September 4, after ten months of
exile. That Guillem Arnaud returned with them is a matter of course.[23]

Pierre Cella was still restricted to his diocese of Querci, and as
Guillem required a colleague, a concession was made to popular feeling
by the legate in appointing a Franciscan, it being imagined that the
comparative mildness of that Order might serve to modify the hatred felt
towards the Dominicans. The post was conferred on the provincial
minister, Jean de Notoyra, but his other duties were too engrossing, and
he substituted Frère Étienne de Saint-Thibery, who had the reputation of
being a modest and courteous man. If hopes were entertained that thus
the severity of the Inquisition would be tempered, they were
disappointed. The two men worked cordially together, with a single
purpose and perfect unanimity.[24]

Guillem Arnaud’s activity was untiring. During his exile in Carcassonne
he occupied himself with the trial of the Seigneur de Niort, whom he
sentenced in February or March, 1236.[25] In the early months of 1237 we
hear of him in Querci, co-operating with Pierre Cella in harrying the
heretics of Montauban. During his absence there occurred a crowning
mercy in Toulouse, which threw the heretics into a spasm of terror and
contributed greatly to their destruction. Raymond Gros, who had been a
perfected heretic for more than twenty years, one of the most loved and
trusted leaders of the sect, was suddenly converted. Tradition relates
that a quarter of a century before he had been seized and consigned to
the stake, when the prophetic spirit of St. Dominic, foreseeing that he
would return to the Church and perform shining service in the cause of
God, rescued him from the flames. On April 2, without heralding, he
presented himself at the Dominican convent, humbly begged to be received
into the Church, and promised to do whatever should be required of him.
With the eagerness of an impassioned convert he proceeded to reveal all
that lifelong intercourse with the Cathari had brought to his knowledge.
So full were his recollections that several days were required to write
down all the names and facts that crowded to his lips. The lists were
long and embraced prominent nobles and citizens, confirming suspicion in
many cases, and revealing heresy in other quarters where it was wholly
unlooked for.

Guillem Arnaud hurried back from Montauban to take full advantage of
this act of Providence. The heretics were stunned. None of them dared to
deny the truth of the accusations made by Raymond Gros. Many fled, some
of whose names reappear in the massacre of Avignonet and the final
catastrophe of Montségur. Many recanted and furnished further
revelations. Long lists were made out of those who had been hereticated
on their death-beds, and multitudes of corpses were exhumed and burned,
with the resultant harvest of confiscations. It is difficult to
exaggerate the severity of the blow thus received by heresy. Toulouse
was its headquarters. Here were the nobles and knights, the consuls and
rich burghers who had thus far defied scrutiny and had protected their
less fortunate comrades. Now scattered and persecuted, forced to recant,
or burned, the power of the secret organization was broken irrevocably.
We can well appreciate the pious exultation of the chronicler as he
winds up his account of the consternation and destruction thus visited
upon the heretical community--“Their names are not written in the Book
of Life, but their bodies here were burned and their souls are tortured
in hell!” A single sentence of February 19, 1238, in which more than
twenty penitents were consigned _en masse_ to perpetual imprisonment,
shows the extent of the harvest and the haste of the harvesters.[26]

The Inquisition thus had overcome the popular horror which its
proceedings had excited; it had braved the shock and triumphed over the
opposition of the secular authorities, and had planted itself firmly in
the soil. After the harvest had been gathered in Toulouse it was evident
to the indefatigable activity of the inquisitors that they could best
perform their functions by riding circuit and holding assizes in all the
towns subject to their jurisdiction, and this was represented as a
concession to avert the complaints of those who deemed it a hardship to
be summoned to distant places. Their incessant labors began to tell.
Heretics were leaving the lands of Raymond at last and seeking a refuge
elsewhere. Possibly some of them found it in the domains which had
fallen to the crown, for in this year we find Gregory scolding the royal
officials for their slackness of zeal in executing sentences against
powerful heretics. Elsewhere, however, there was no rest for them. In
Provence this year Pons de l’Esparre made himself conspicuous for the
energy and effectiveness with which he confounded the enemies of the
faith; while Montpellier, alarmed at the influx of heretics and their
success in propagating their errors, appealed to Gregory to favor them
with some assistance that should effectively resist the rising tide, and
Gregory at once ordered his legate Jean de Vienne to go thither and take
the necessary measures.[27]

The progress of the Inquisition, however, was not destined to be
uninterrupted. Count Raymond, apparently reckless of the numerous
excommunications under which he lay, so far from sailing for Palestine
in March, had seized Marseilles, which was in rebellion against its
suzerain, the Count of Provence. This aroused anew the indignation of
Gregory, not only because of its interference with the war against the
Saracens in Spain and the Holy Land, but because of the immunity which
heretics would enjoy during the quarrel of the Christian princes. He
peremptorily ordered Raymond to desist from his enterprise on
Marseilles, and to perform his Crusader’s vow. An appeal was made to
King Louis and Queen Blanche, whose intervention procured for Raymond
not only a postponement of the crusade for another year, but an order to
the legate empowering him to grant the count’s request to take the
Inquisition entirely out of the hands of the Dominicans, if, on
investigation, he should find justification for Raymond’s assertion that
they were actuated by hatred towards himself. Fresh troubles had arisen
at Toulouse. July 24, 1237, the inquisitors had again excommunicated the
viguier and consuls, because they had not arrested and burned Alaman de
Roaix and some other heretics, condemned _in absentia_, and Raymond was
resolved, if possible, to relieve himself and his subjects from the
cruel oppression to which they were exposed.[28]

In this his efforts were crowned with most unlooked-for success. May 13,
1238, he obtained a suspension for three months of all inquisitorial
proceedings, during which time his envoys sent to Gregory were to be
heard. They seem to have used most persuasive arguments, for Gregory
wrote to the Bishop of Toulouse to continue the suspension until the new
legate, the Cardinal-bishop of Palestrina, should examine into the
complaints against the Dominicans and consider the advisability of
granting Raymond’s request that the business of persecution should be
confined, as formerly, to the bishops. Raymond’s crusade was also
reduced to three years, to be performed voluntarily, provided he would
give to King Louis sufficient security that he would sail the following
year: by performing this, and making amends for the wrongs inflicted on
the Church, he was to earn absolution from his numerous

The temporary suspension was unexpectedly prolonged, for, owing to
hostilities with Frederic II., the cardinal-legate’s departure was
postponed for a year. When at least he came, in 1239, he brought special
orders to the inquisitors to obey his commands. What investigation he
made and what were his conclusions we have no means of knowing, but this
at least is certain, that until late in 1241 the Inquisition was
effectually muzzled. No traces remain of its activity during these
years, and Catholic and Catharan alike could draw a freer breath,
relieved of apprehension from its ever-present supervision and the
seemingly superhuman energy of the friars.[30]

We can readily conjecture the reasons which impelled its reinstatement.
Doubtless the bishops were as negligent as of old, and looked after
their temporalities to the exclusion of their duties in preserving the
purity of the faith. Doubtless, too, the heretics, encouraged by virtual
toleration, grew bolder, and cherished hopes of a return to the good old
times, when, secure under their native princes, they could safely defy
distant Paris and yet more distant Rome. The condition of the country
was, in fact, by no means reassuring, especially in the regions which
had become domains of the crown. The land was full of knights and barons
who were more or less openly heretics, and who knew not when the blow
might fall on them; of seigneurs who had been proscribed for heresy; of
enforced converts who secretly longed to avow their hidden faith, and to
regain their confiscated lands; of penitents burning to throw off the
crosses imposed on them, and to avenge the humiliations which they had
endured. Refugees, _faidits_, and heretic teachers were wandering
through the mountains, dwelling in caverns and in the recesses of the
forests. Scarce a family but had some kinsman to avenge, who had fallen
in the field or had perished at the stake. The lack of prisons and the
parsimony of the prelates had prevented a general resort to
imprisonment, and the burnings had not been numerous enough to notably
reduce the numbers of those who were of necessity bitterly opposed to
the existing order. Suddenly, in 1240, an insurrection appeared, headed
by Trencavel, son of that Viscount of Béziers whom we have seen
entrapped by Simon de Montfort and dying opportunely in his hands, not
without suspicion of poison. He brought with him from Catalonia troops
of proscribed knights and gentlemen, and was greeted enthusiastically by
the vassals and subjects of his house. Count Raymond, his cousin, held
aloof; but his ambiguous conduct showed plainly that he was prepared to
act on either side as success or defeat might render advisable. At first
the rising seemed to prosper. Trencavel laid siege to his ancestral town
of Carcassonne, and the spirit of his followers was shown when, on the
surrender of the suburb, they slaughtered in cold blood thirty
ecclesiastics who had received solemn assurance of free egress to

It required but a small force of royal troops under Jean de Beaumont to
crush the insurrection as quickly as it had arisen, and to inflict a
vengeance which virtually annihilated the _petite noblesse_ of the
region; but, nevertheless, the lesson which it taught was not to be
neglected. The civil order, as now established in the south of France,
evidently rested in the religious order, and the maintenance of this
required hands more vigorous and watchful than those of the self-seeking
prelates. A great assembly of the Cathari held in 1241, on the bank of
the Larneta, under the presidency of Aymeri de Collet, heretic Bishop of
Albi, showed how bold they had become, and how confidently they looked
to the future. Church and State both could see now, if not before, that
the Inquisition was a necessary factor in securing to both the
advantages gained in the crusades.[32]

Gregory IX., the founder of the Inquisition, died August 22, 1241. It is
probable that, before his death, he had put an end to the suspension of
the Inquisition and slipped the hounds from the leash, for his immediate
successor, Celestin IV., enjoyed a pontificate of but nineteen
days--from September 20 to October 8--and then followed an interregnum
until the election of Innocent IV., June 28, 1243, so that for nearly
two years the papal throne was practically vacant. Raymond’s policy,
for the moment, had leaned towards gratifying the papacy, for he desired
from Gregory not only the removal of his four excommunications and
forbearance in the matter of the crusade, but also a dispensation to
enable him to carry out a contract of marriage into which he entered
with Sanche, daughter and heiress of the Count of Provence, not
foreseeing that Queen Blanche would juggle him in this, and, by securing
the brilliant match for her son Charles, found the House of
Anjou-Provence, and win for the royal family another large portion of
the South. Full of these projects, which promised so well for the
rehabilitation of his power, he signed, April 18, 1241, with Jayme I. of
Aragon, a treaty of alliance for the defence of the Holy See and the
Catholic faith, and against the heretics. Under such influences he was
not likely to oppose the renewal of active persecution. Besides, he had
been compromised in Trencavel’s insurrection; he had been summoned to
answer for his conduct before King Louis, when, on March 14, he had been
forced to take an oath to banish from his lands the _faidits_ and
enemies of the king, and to capture without delay the castle of
Montségur, the last refuge of heresy.[33]

The case of the Seigneurs de Niort, powerful nobles of Fenouillèdes, who
had taken part in Trencavel’s insurrection, is interesting from the
light which it throws upon the connection between the religion and the
politics of the time, the difficulties which the Inquisition experienced
in dealing with stubborn heresy and patriotism, and the damage inflicted
on the heretic cause by the abortive revolt. The three brothers--Guillem
Guiraud, Bernard Otho, and Guiraud Bernard--with their mother,
Esclarmonde, had long been a quarry which both the inquisitors and the
royal seneschal of Carcassonne had been eager to capture. Guillem had
earned the reputation of a valiant knight in the wars of the crusades,
and the brothers had managed to hold their castles and their power
through all the vicissitudes of the time. In the general inquisition
made by Cardinal Romano in 1229 they were described as among the chief
leaders of the heretics, and the Council of Toulouse, at the same time,
denounced two of them as enemies of the faith, and declared them
excommunicate if they did not submit within fifteen days. In 1233 we
hear of their having, not long before, laid waste with fire and sword
the territories of Pierre Amiel, Archbishop of Narbonne, and they had
assailed and wounded him while on his way to the Holy See, an exploit
which led Gregory IX. to order the archbishop, in conjunction with the
Bishop of Toulouse, to proceed against them energetically, while at the
same time he invoked the secular arm by a pressing command to Count
Raymond. It was probably under this authority that Bishop Raymond du
Fauga and the Provost of Toulouse held an inquest on them, in which was
taken the testimony of Pierre Amiel and of one hundred and seven other
witnesses. The evidence was conflicting. The archbishop swore at great
length as to the misdeeds of his enemies. They were all heretics. At one
time they kept in their Castle of Dourne no less than thirty perfected
heretics, and they had procured the assassination of André Chaulet,
Seneschal of Carcassonne, because he had endeavored to obtain evidence
against them. Other witnesses were equally emphatic. Bernard Otho on one
occasion had silenced a priest in his own church, and had replaced him
in the pulpit with a heretic, who had preached to the congregation. On
the other hand, there were not wanting witnesses who boldly defended
them. The preceptor of the Hospital at Puységur swore to the orthodoxy
of Bernard Otho, and declared that what he had done for the faith and
for peace had caused the death of a thousand heretics. A priest swore to
having seen him assist in capturing heretics, and an archdeacon declared
that he would not have remained in the land but for the army which
Bernard raised after the death of the late king, adding that he believed
the prosecution arose rather from hate than from charity. Nothing came
of this attempt, and in 1234 we meet with Bernard Otho as a witness to a
transaction between the royal Seneschal of Carcassonne and the Monastery
of Alet; but when the Inquisition was established it was promptly
brought to bear on the nobles who persisted in maintaining their feudal
independence in spite of the fact that their immediate suzerain was now
the king. In 1235 Guillem Arnaud, the inquisitor, while in Carcassonne,
with the Archdeacon of Carcassonne as assistant, cited the three
brothers and their mother to answer before him. Bernard Otho and Guillem
obeyed the summons, but would confess nothing. Then the seneschal seized
them; under compulsion Guillem made confession ample to warrant the
inquisitor in sentencing him to perpetual prison (March 2, 1236), while
Bernard, remaining obdurate, was condemned as a contumacious heretic
(February 13, 1236), and the seneschal made preparations to burn him.
Guiraud and his mother, Esclarmonde, were further condemned, March 2,
for contumacious absence. Guiraud, however, who had wisely kept at
large, began to fortify his castles and make warlike demonstrations so
formidable that the Frenchmen scattered through the land took alarm. The
Maréchal de la Foi, Levis of Mirepoix, stood firm, but the rest so
worked upon the seneschal that the brothers were released, and the
inquisitors had only the barren satisfaction of condemning the whole
family on paper--a disappointment alleviated, it is true, by gathering
for the stake a rich harvest of less formidable heretics, both clerks
and laymen. Equally vain was an effort made two years later by the
inquisitors to compel Count Raymond to carry out their sentence by
confiscating the lands of the contumacious nobles, but the failure of
Trencavel’s revolt forced them to sue for peace. Bernard Otho was again
brought before the Inquisition, and Guillem de Niort made submission for
himself and brothers, surrendering their castles to the king on
condition that he would procure their reconciliation with the Church,
and that of their mother, nephews, and allies, and, failing to
accomplish this by the next Pentecost, that he would restore their
castles and grant them a month of truce to put themselves in defence.
King Louis ratified the treaty in January, 1241, but refused, when the
time came, to restore the castles, only agreeing to pay over the
revenues on consideration that the brothers should reside outside of
Fenouillèdes. Guillem died in 1256, when Louis kept both castles and
revenues, under pretext that the treaty had been a personal one with
Guillem. The new order of things by this time had become so firmly
established that no further resistance was to be dreaded. The extinction
of this powerful family is a typical example of the manner in which the
independence of the local seigneurie was gradually broken down by means
of the Inquisition, and the authority of crown and Church was extended
over the land.[34]

Under the reaction consequent upon Trencavel’s failure, and emboldened
by the ruin of the local protectors of the people, the inquisitors
returned to their work with sharpened zeal and redoubled energy. Chance
has preserved for us a record of sentences pronounced by Pierre Cella,
during a circuit of a few months in Querci, from Advent, 1241, to
Ascension, 1242, which affords us a singularly instructive insight into
one phase of inquisitorial operations. We have seen that, when an
inquisitor visited a town, he proclaimed a “time of grace,” during
which those who voluntarily came forward and confessed were spared the
harsher punishments of prison, confiscation, or the stake, and that the
Inquisition found this expedient exceedingly fruitful, not only in the
number of penitents which it brought in, but in the testimony which was
gathered concerning the more contumacious. The record in question
consists of cases of this kind, and its crowded calendar justifies the
esteem in which the method was held.[35]

Summarized, the record shows--

    In Gourdon    219  sentences pronounced in Advent, 1241.
    In Montcucq    84      "          "     "  Lent, 1242.
    In Sauveterre   5.
    In Belcayre     7.
    In Montauban  254  sentences pronounced in week before Ascension
                                                   (May 21-28, 1242).
    In Moissac     99      "          "     "  week of Ascension
                                               (May 28-June 5, 1242).
    In Montpezat   22      "          "     "  Lent, 1242.
    In Montaut     23      "          "     "    "     "
    In Castelnau   11      "          "     "    "     "
    Total         724

Of these penitents four hundred and twenty-seven were ordered to make
the distant pilgrimage to Compostella, in the northwestern corner of
Spain--some four hundred or five hundred miles of mountainous roads. One
hundred and eight were sent to Canterbury, this pilgrimage, in all but
three or four cases, being superimposed on that to Compostella. Only two
penitents were required to visit Rome, but seventy-nine were ordered to
serve in the crusades for terms varying from one to eight years.

The first thing that impresses one in considering this record is the
extraordinary speed with which the work was done. The whole was
despatched in six months, and there is no evidence that the labor was
continuous--in fact, it could not have been so, for the inquisitor had
to move from place to place, to grant the necessary delays, and must
have been frequently interrupted to gather in the results of testimony
which implicated recusants. With what reckless lack of consideration the
penances were imposed is shown by the two hundred and nineteen penitents
of Gourdon, whose confessions were taken down and whose sentences were
pronounced within the four weeks of Advent; and even this is outstripped
by the two hundred and fifty-two of Montauban, despatched in the week
before Ascension, at the rate of forty-two for each working-day. In
several cases two culprits are included in the same sentence.

Even more significant than this, however, are the enormous numbers--two
hundred and nineteen for a small town like Gourdon and eighty-four for
Montcucq. The number of these who were really heretics, both Catharan
and Waldensian, is large, and shows how thoroughly the population was
interpenetrated with heresy. Even more, however, were good Catholics
whose cases prove how amicably the various sects associated together,
and how impossible it was for the most orthodox to avoid the association
with heretics which rendered him liable to punishment. This friendly
intercourse is peculiarly notable in the case of a priest who confessed
to having gone to some heretics in a vineyard, where he read in their
books and ate pears with them. He was rudely reminded of his
indiscretion by being suspended from his functions, sent to Compostella
and thence to Rome, with letters from the inquisitors which doubtless
were not for his benefit, for apparently they felt unable to decide what
ought to be done for an offence so enormous. Even the smallest
derelictions of this sort were rigorously penanced. A citizen of
Sauveterre had seen three heretics entering the house of a sick man, and
heard that they had hereticated him, but knew nothing of his own
knowledge, yet he was subjected to the disgrace of a penitential
pilgrimage to Puy. Another, of Belcayre, had carried a message between
two heretics, and was sent to Puy, St. Gilles, and Compostella. A
physician of Montauban had bound up the arm of a heretic and was
subjected to the same three pilgrimages, and the same penance was
inflicted on a woman who had simply eaten at a table with heretics. The
same was prescribed in several cases of boatmen who had ignorantly
transported heretics, without recognizing them until the voyage was
under way or finished. A woman who had eaten and drunk with another
woman who she heard was a heretic was sentenced to the pilgrimages of
Puy and St. Gilles, and the same penance was ordered for a man who had
once seen heretics, and for a woman who had consulted a Waldensian about
her sick son. The Waldenses had great reputation as skilful leeches, and
two men who had called them in for their wives and children were
penanced with the pilgrimages of Puy, St. Gilles, and Compostella. A man
who had seen heretics two or three times, and had already purchased
reconciliation by a gift to a monastery, was sent on a long series of
pilgrimages, embracing both Compostella and Canterbury, besides wearing
the yellow cross for a year. Another was sent to Compostella because he
had once been thrown into company with heretics in a boat, although he
had left them on hearing their heresies; and yet another because, when a
boy, he had spent part of a day and night with heretics. One who had
seen heretics when he was twelve years old was sent to Puy; while a
woman who had seen them in her father’s house was obliged to go to Puy
and St. Gilles. A man who had seen two heretics leaving a place which he
had rented was sent to Compostella, and another who had allowed his
Waldensian mother to visit him and had given her an ell of cloth was
forced to expiate it with pilgrimages to Puy, St. Gilles, and
Compostella.[36] The list might be prolonged almost indefinitely, but
these cases will suffice to show the character of the offence and the
nature of the grace proffered for voluntary confession. There is no
pretence that any of these particular culprits themselves were not
wholly orthodox, but the people were to be taught that the toleration
which had existed for generations was at an end; that the neighborly
intercourse which had established itself between Catholic and Catharan
and Waldensian was in itself a sin; that the heretic was to be tracked
and captured like a wild beast, or at least to be shunned like a leper.

When such was the measure meted out to spontaneous penitents within the
time of grace, with harsher measures in reserve for those subsequently
detected, we can easily imagine the feelings inspired by the Inquisition
in the whole population, without distinction of creed, and the terror
common to all when the rumor spread that the inquisitors were coming.
Scarce any one but was conscious of some act--perhaps of neighborly
charity--that rendered him a criminal to the awful fanaticism of Pierre
Cella or Guillem Arnaud. The heretics themselves would look to be
imprisoned for life, with confiscation, or to be burned, or sent to
Constantinople to support the tottering Latin Empire; while the
Catholics were likely to fare little better on the distant pilgrimages
to which they were sentenced, even though they were spared the sterner
punishments or the humiliation of the saffron cross. Such a visit would
bring, even to the faithful, the desolation of a pestilence. The
inquisitors would pass calmly on, leaving a neighborhood well-nigh
depopulated--fathers and mothers despatched to distant shrines for
months or years, leaving dependent families to starve, or harvests
ungathered to be the prey of the first-comer, all the relations of a
life, hard enough at the best, disturbed and broken up. Even such a
record as that of Pierre Cella’s sentences rendered within the time of
grace shows but a portion of the work. A year or two later we find the
Council of Narbonne beseeching the inquisitors to delay rendering
sentences of incarceration, because the numbers of those flocking in for
reconciliation after the expiration of the term of grace were so great
that it would be impossible to raise funds for their maintenance, or to
find stones enough, even in that mountainous land, to build prisons to
contain them.[37] That a whole vicinage, when it had timely notice,
should bind itself in a league to defeat the purpose of the inquisitors,
as at Castelnaudary, must have been a frequent experience; that, sooner
or later, despair should bring about a catastrophe like that of
Avignonet was inevitable.

       *       *       *       *       *

Montségur for years had been the Mount Tabor of the Cathari--the place
of refuge in which, as its name implies, they could feel secure when
safety could be hoped for nowhere else. It had been destroyed, but early
in the century Raymond de Péreille had rebuilt it, and for forty years
he held it as an asylum for heretics, whom he defended to the utmost of
his ability. In 1232 the Catharan bishops Tento of Agen and Guillabert
de Castres of Toulouse, with a number of ministers, foreseeing, in the
daily increasing pressure of persecution, the necessity of some
stronghold which should serve as an asylum, arranged with Raymond that
he should receive and shelter all fugitives of the sect and guard the
common treasure to be deposited there. His castle, situated in the
territories of the marshals of Mirepoix, had never opened its gates to
the Frenchmen. Its almost inaccessible peak had been sedulously
strengthened with all that military experience could suggest or earnest
devotion could execute. Ever since the persecutions of the Inquisition
commenced we hear of those who fled to Montségur when they found the
inquisitor’s hand descending upon them. Dispossessed knights, _faidits_
of all kinds, brought their swords to its defence; Catharan bishops and
ministers sought it when hard pressed, or made it a resting-place in
their arduous and dangerous mission-work. Raymond de Péreille himself
sought its shelter when, compromised by the revelations of Raymond Gros,
he fled from Toulouse, in 1237, with his wife Corba; the devotion of his
race to heresy being further proved by the fate of his daughter
Esclarmonde, who perished for her faith at the stake, and by the
Catharan episcopate of his brother Arnaud Roger. Such a stronghold in
the hands of desperate men, fired with the fiercest fanaticism, was a
menace to the stability of the new order in the State; to the Church it
was an accursed spot whence heresy might at any moment burst forth to
overspread the land again. Its destruction had long been the desire of
all good Catholics, and Raymond’s pledge to King Louis, March 14, 1241,
to capture it had been one of the conditions on which his suspicious
relations with Trencavel had been condoned. In fact, he made some show
of besieging it during the same year, but success would have been most
damaging to the plans which he was nursing, and his efforts can scarce
have been more than a cover for military preparations destined to a far
different object. The French army, after the suppression of the rising,
also laid siege to Montségur, but were unable to effect its

On Ascension night, 1242, while Pierre Cella was tranquilly winding up
his work at Montauban, the world was startled with the news that a
holocaust of the terrible inquisitors had been made at Avignonet, a
little town about twelve leagues from Toulouse. The stern Guillem Arnaud
and the courteous Étienne de Saint-Thibery were making, like their
colleague Pierre Cella, a circuit through the district subjected to
their mercy. Some of their sentences which have been preserved show that
in November, 1241, they were laboring at Lavaur and at Saint-Paul de
Caujoux, and in the spring of 1242 they came to Avignonet.[39] Raymond
d’Alfaro was its bailli for the count, who was his uncle through his
mother, Guillemetta, a natural daughter of Raymond VI. When he heard
that the inquisitors and their assistants were coming he lost no time in
preparing for their destruction. A swift messenger was despatched to the
heretics of Montségur, and in answer to his summons Pierre Roger of
Mirepoix, with a number of knights and their retainers, started at once.
They halted in the forest of Gaiac, near Avignonet, where food was
brought them, and they were joined by about thirty armed men of the
vicinage, who waited with them till after nightfall. Had this plot
failed, d’Alfaro had arranged another for an ambuscade on the road to
Castelnaudary, and the fact that so extensive a conspiracy could be
organized on the spot, without finding a traitor to betray it, shows how
general was the hate that had been earned by the cruel work of the
Inquisition. Not less significant is the fact that on their return to
Montségur the murderers were hospitably entertained at the Château de
Saint-Félix by a priest who was cognizant of their bloody deed.

The victims came unsuspectingly to the trap. There were eleven in all.
The two inquisitors, with two Dominican friars, and one Franciscan, the
Benedictine Prior of Avignonet, Raymond de Costiran, Archdeacon of
Lezat, a former troubadour, of whose verses only a single obscene song
remains, a clerk of the archdeacon, a notary, and two apparitors--in all
a court fully furnished for the despatch of business. They were
hospitably received and housed in the castle of the count, where on the
morrow they were to open their dread tribunal for the trembling
inhabitants. When darkness came a selected band of twelve, armed with
axes, left the forest and stole cautiously to a postern of the castle,
where they were met by Golairan, a comrade of d’Alfaro, who assured
himself that all was right, and returned to see what the inquisitors
were doing. Coming back, he reported that they were drinking; but a
second visit, after an interval, brought the welcome news that they were
going to bed. As though apprehensive of danger, they had remained
together in the great hall, and had barricaded the door. The gate was
opened, the men of Montségur were admitted and were joined by d’Alfaro,
armed with a mace, and twenty-five men of Avignonet, and the fact that
an esquire in the service of the inquisitors was with him indicates that
there was treachery at work. The hall-door was quickly broken down, the
wild band of assassins rushed in, and, after despatching their victims,
there was a fierce chorus of gratified vengeance, each man boasting of
his share in the bloody deed--d’Alfaro especially, who shouted “_Va be,
esta be_,” and claimed that his mace had done its full duty in the
murderous work. Its crushing of Guillem Arnaud’s skull had deprived
Pierre Roger de Mirepoix, the second in command at Montségur, of the
drinking-cup which he had demanded as his reward for the assistance
furnished. The plunder of the victims was eagerly shared between the
assassins--their horses, books, garments--even to their scapulars. When
the news reached Rome, the College of Cardinals made haste to express
their belief that the victims had become blessed martyrs of Jesus
Christ, and one of the first acts of Innocent IV., after his
installation in June, 1243, was to repeat this declaration; but they
never were canonized, in spite of frequent requests to the Holy See, and
of the numerous miracles which attested their sanctity in the popular
cult, until, in 1866, Pius IX. gave them tardy recognition.[40]

Like the murder of the legate Pierre de Castelnau, in 1208, the massacre
of Avignonet was a fatal error. Its violation of the traditional
sanctity of the ecclesiastic sent a thrill of horror even among those
who had small sympathy with the cruelty of the Inquisition, while the
deliberateness of its planning and its unsparing ferocity gave color to
the belief that heresy was only to be extirpated by force. Sympathy,
indeed, for a time might well change sides, for the massacre was
practically unavenged. Frère Ferrer, the Inquisitor of Carcassonne, made
due inquest into the affair, and after the capture of Montségur, in
1244, some of the participants confessed all the details, but the real
culprits escaped. Count Raymond, it is true, when he had leisure from
pressing business, hanged a few of the underlings, but we find Raymond
d’Alfaro, in 1247, promoted to be Viguier of Toulouse, and representing
his master in the proceedings with regard to the burial of the old
count, and, finally, he was one of the nine witnesses to Raymond’s last
will. Another ringleader, Guillem du Mas-Saintes-Puelles, is recorded as
taking the oath of allegiance to Count Alfonse, in 1249, after the death
of Raymond. Guillem’s participation in the murders has special interest,
as showing the antagonism created by the violence of the Inquisition,
for in 1233, as Bailli of Lavaur, he had dutifully seized a number of
heretics and carried them to Toulouse, where they were promptly

The massacre of Avignonet came at a time peculiarly unfortunate for
Count Raymond, who was nursing comprehensive and far-reaching plans,
then ripe for execution, for the rehabilitation of his house and the
independence of his land. He could not escape the responsibility for the
catastrophe which public opinion everywhere attached to him. Although
he had recently, on March 14, solemnly sworn to persecute heresy with
his whole strength when, apparently sick unto death, he had sought
absolution at the hands of the episcopal official of Agen, yet he was
known to be hostile to the Dominicans as inquisitors, and had bitterly
opposed the restoration of their functions. On May 1, just four weeks
before the event, he had made a solemn declaration in the presence of
numerous prelates and nobles to the effect that he had appealed to Rome
against the commission of Dominican inquisitors by the provincial in his
territories, and that he intended to prosecute that appeal. He protested
that he earnestly desired the eradication of heresy, and urged the
bishops to exercise energetically their ordinary power to that end,
promising his full support to them and the execution of the law both as
to confiscation and the death-penalty. He would even accept the friars
as inquisitors provided they acted independently of their Orders, and
not under the authority of their provincials. One of his baillis even
threatened, in the church of Moissac, seizure of person and property for
all who should submit to the penalties imposed by the inquisitors, as
they were not authorized by the count to administer justice. Such being
his position, it was inevitable that he should be regarded as an
accomplice in the murders, and that the cause which he represented
should suffer greatly in the revulsion of public feeling which it

Raymond had been busy in effecting a widespread alliance which should
wring from the House of Capet its conquests of the last quarter of a
century. He had been joined by the Kings of England, Castile, and
Aragon, and the Count de la Marche, and everything bid fair for his
reconquest of his old domains. The massacre of Avignonet was a most
untoward precursor of the revolt which burst forth immediately
afterwards. It shook the fidelity of some of his vassals, who withdrew
their support; and, to counteract its impression, he felt obliged to
convert his sham siege of Montségur into an active one, thus employing
troops which he could ill spare. Yet the rising, for a while, promised
success, and Raymond even reassumed his old title of Duke of Narbonne.
King Louis, however, was equal to the occasion, and allowed the allies
no time to concentrate their forces. His victories over the English and
Gascons at Taillebourg and Saintes, July 19 and 23, deprived Raymond of
all hope of assistance from that quarter. Pestilence forced the
withdrawal of the main army of Louis, but a force under the veteran
Imbert de Beaujeu operated actively against Raymond, who, without help
from his allies and deserted by many of his vassals, was obliged to lay
down his arms, December 22. When suing for peace he pledged himself to
extirpate heresy and to punish the assassins of Avignonet with an
effusiveness which shows the importance attached to these conditions.
The sagacity and moderation of King Louis granted him easy terms, but
one of the stipulations of settlement was that every male inhabitant
over the age of fifteen should take an oath to assist the Church against
heresy, and the king against Raymond, in case of another revolt. Thus
the purity of the faith and the supremacy of the foreign domination were
once again recognized as inseparably allied.[43]

The triumph of both had been secured. This ended the last serious effort
of the South to recover its independence. Henceforth, under the treaty
of Paris, it was to pass irrevocably into the hands of the stranger, and
the Inquisition was to have unrestricted opportunity to enforce
conformity in religion. It was in vain that Raymond again, at the
Council of Béziers, April 20, 1243, summoned the bishops of his
dominions--those of Toulouse, Agen, Cahors, Albi, and Rodez--urging them
personally or through proper deputies, whether Cistercians, Dominicans,
or Franciscans, to make diligent inquisition after heresy, and pledged
the assistance of the secular arm for its extirpation. It was equally in
vain that, immediately on the accession of Innocent IV., in June, a
deputation of Dominicans, frightened by the warning of Avignonet,
earnestly alleged many reasons why the dangerous burden should be lifted
from their shoulders. The pope peremptorily refused, and ordered them to
continue their holy labors, even at the risk of martyrdom.[44]

Despite this single exhibition of hesitation and weakness, the Order was
not lacking in men whose eager fanaticism rendered them fully prepared
to accept the perilous post. The peril, indeed, was apparent rather than
real--it had passed away in the revulsion which followed the useless
bloodshed of Avignonet and the failure of Raymond’s rebellion. There was
a rising tide in favor of orthodoxy. A confraternity organized in
October, 1243, by Durand, Bishop of Albi, is probably only the
expression of what was going on in many places. Organized under the
protection of St. Cecilia, the members of the association pledged
themselves not only to mutual protection, but to aid the bishop to
execute justice on heretics, Vaudois and their fautors, and to defend
inquisitors as they would their own bodies. Any member suspected of
heresy was to be incontinently ejected, and a reward of a silver mark
was offered for every heretic captured and delivered to the association.
The new pope had, moreover, spoken in no uncertain tone. His refusal to
relieve the Dominicans was accompanied with a peremptory command to all
the prelates of the region to extend favor, assistance, and protection
to the inquisitors in their toils and tribulations. Any slackness in
this was freely threatened with the papal vengeance, while favor was
significantly promised as the reward of zeal. The Dominicans were urged
to fresh exertion to overcome the threatened recrudescence of heresy. A
new legate, Zoen, Bishop-elect of Avignon, was also despatched to
Languedoc, with instructions to act vigorously. His predecessor had been
complained of by the inquisitors for having, in spite of their
remonstrances, released many of their prisoners and remitted penances
indiscriminately. All such acts of misplaced mercy were pronounced void,
and Zoen was ordered to reimpose all such penalties without appeal.[45]

Still more menacing to the heretic cause was the reconciliation at last
effected between Raymond and the papacy. In September, 1243, the count
visited Italy, where he had an interview with Frederic II. in Apulia,
and with Innocent in Rome. For ten years he had been under
excommunication, and had carried on an unavailing struggle. He could no
longer cherish illusions, and was doubtless ready to give whatever
assurances might be required of him. On the other hand, the new pope was
free from the predispositions which the long strife had engendered in
Gregory IX. There seems to have been little difficulty in reaching an
understanding, to which the good offices of Louis IX. powerfully
contributed. December 2, Raymond was released from his various
excommunications; January 1, 1244, the absolution was announced to King
Louis and the prelates of the kingdom, who were ordered to publish it in
all the churches, and January 7 the Legate Zoen was instructed to treat
him with fatherly affection and not permit him to be molested. In all
this absolution had only been given _ad cautelam_, or provisionally, for
a special excommunication had been decreed against him as a fautor of
heretics, after the massacre of Avignonet, by the inquisitors Ferrer and
Guillem Raymond. Against this he had made a special appeal to the Holy
See in April, 1243, and a special bull of May 16, 1244, was required for
its abrogation. No conditions seem to have been imposed respecting the
long-deferred crusade, and thenceforth Raymond lived in perfect harmony
with the Holy See. Indeed, he was the recipient of many favors. A bull
of March 18, 1244, granted him the privilege that for five years he
should not be forced by apostolic letters to answer in judgment outside
of his own dominions; another of April 27, 1245, took him, his family,
and lands under the special protection of St. Peter and the papacy; and
yet another of May 12, 1245, provided that no delegate of the Apostolic
See should have power to utter excommunication or any other sentence
against him without a special mandate. Besides this, one of April 21,
1245, imposed some limitations on the power of inquisitors, limitations
which they seem never to have observed. Raymond was fairly won over. He
had evidently resolved to accommodate himself to the necessities of the
time, and the heretic had nothing further to hope or the inquisitor to
fear from him. The preparation for increased and systematic vigor of
operations is seen in the elaborate provisions, so often referred to
above, of the Council of Narbonne, held at this period.[46]

Yet so long as heresy retained the stronghold of Montségur as a refuge
and rallying-point its secret and powerful organization could not be
broken. The capture of that den of outlaws was a necessity of the first
order, and as soon as the confusion of the rebellion of 1242 had
subsided it was undertaken as a crusade, not by Raymond, but by the
Archbishop of Narbonne, the Bishop of Albi, the Seneschal of
Carcassonne, and some nobles, either led by zeal or by the hope of
salvation. The heretics, on their side, were not idle. Some baillis of
Count Raymond sent them Bertrand de la Bacalairia, a skilful maker of
military engines, to aid them in the defence, who made no scruple in
affirming that he came with the assent of the count, and from every side
money, provisions, arms, and munitions of war were poured into the
stronghold. In the spring of 1243 the siege began, prosecuted with
indefatigable ardor by the besiegers, and resisted with desperate
resolution by the besieged. As in the old combats at Toulouse, the women
assisted their warriors, and the venerable Catharan bishop, Bertrand
Martin, animated their devoted courage with promises of eternal bliss.
It is significant of the public temper that sympathizers in the
besiegers’ camp permitted tolerably free communication between the
besieged and their friends, and gave them warning of the plans of
attack. Even the treasure which had been stored up in Montségur was
conveyed away safely through the investing lines, about Christmas, 1243,
to Pons Arnaud de Châteauverdun in the Savartès. Secret relations were
maintained with Count Raymond, and the besieged were buoyed up with
promises that if they would hold out until Easter, 1244, he would march
to their relief with forces supplied by the Emperor Frederic II. It was
all in vain. The siege dragged on its weary length for nearly a year,
till, on the night of March 1, 1244, guided by some shepherds who
betrayed their fellow-countrymen, by almost inaccessible paths among the
cliffs, the crusaders surprised and carried one of the outworks. The
castle was no longer tenable. A brief parley ensued, and the garrison
agreed to surrender at dawn, delivering up to the archbishop all the
perfected heretics among them, on condition that the lives of the rest
should be spared. Although a few were let down from the walls with ropes
and thus escaped, the capitulation was carried out, and the archbishop’s
shrift was short. At the foot of the mountain-peak an enclosure of
stakes was formed, piled high with wood, and set on fire. The Perfect
were asked to renounce their faith, and on their refusal were cast into
the flames. Thus perished two hundred and five men and women. The
conquerors might well write exultingly to the pope, “We have crushed
the head of the dragon!”[47]

Although the lives of the rest of the captives were guaranteed, they
were utilized to the utmost. For months the inquisitors Ferrer and P.
Durant devoted themselves to the examinations to secure evidence against
heretics far and near, dead and alive. From the aged Raymond de Péreille
to a child ten years of age, they were forced, under repeated
interrogatories, to recall every case of adoration and heretication that
they could remember, and page after page was covered with interminable
lists of names of those present at sermons and _consolamenta_ through a
period extending back to thirty or forty years before, and embracing the
whole land as far as Catalonia. Even those who had brought victual to
Montségur and sold it were carefully looked after and set down. It can
readily be conceived what an accession was made to the terrible records
of the Inquisition, and how valuable was the insight obtained into the
ramifications of heresy throughout the land during more than a
generation--what digging up of bones would follow with confiscation of
estates, and with what unerring certainty the inquisitors would be able
to seize their victims and confound their denials. We can only guess at
the means by which this information was extracted from the prisoners.
Torture had not yet been introduced; life had been promised, and
perpetual imprisonment was inevitable for such pronounced heretics; and
when we see Raymond de Péreille himself, who had endured unflinchingly
the vicissitudes of the crusades, and had bravely held out to the last,
ransacking his memory to betray all whom he had ever seen adore a
minister, we can imagine the horrors of the two months’ preliminary
captivity which had so broken his spirit as to bring him to this depth
of degradation. Even a perfected heretic, Arnaud de Bretos, captured
while flying to Lombardy, was induced to reveal the names of all who had
given him shelter and attended his ministrations during his missionary

Henceforth the Cathari could hope only in God. All chance of resistance
was over. One by one their supports had broken, and there was only left
the passive resistance of martyrdom. The Inquisition could track and
seize its victims at leisure, and king and count could follow with
decrees of confiscation which were gradually to transfer the lands of
the South to orthodox and loyal subjects. The strongest testimony that
can be given to the living earnestness of the Catharan faith is to be
found in the prolongation of this struggle yet through three hopeless
generations. It is no wonder, however, if the immediate effect of these
crowding events was to fill the heretics with despair. In the poem of
Isarn de Villemur, written about this period, the heretic, Sicard de
Figueras is represented as saying that their best and most trusted
friends are turning against them and betraying them. How many believers
at this juncture abandoned their religion, even at the cost of lifelong
imprisonment, we have no means of accurately estimating, but the number
must have been enormous, to judge from the request, already alluded to,
of the Council of Narbonne about this time to the inquisitors to
postpone their sentences in view of the impossibility of building
prisons sufficient to contain the crowds who hurried in to accuse
themselves and seek reconciliation, after the expiration of the time of
grace, which Innocent IV., in December, 1243, had ordered to be
designated afresh.[49]

Yet, in a population so thoroughly leavened with heresy, these thousands
of voluntary penitents still left an ample field of activity for the
zeal of the inquisitors. Each one who confessed was bound to give the
names of all whom he had seen engaged in heretical acts, and of all who
had been hereticated on the death-bed. Innumerable clews were thus
obtained to bring to trial those who failed to accuse themselves, and to
exhume and burn the bones of those who were beyond the ability to
recant. For the next few years the life of the inquisitors was a busy
one. The stunned populations no longer offered resistance, and grew used
to the despair of the penitents sentenced to perpetual prison, the
dragging of decomposed corpses through the streets, and the horror of
the Tophets where the victims passed through temporal to eternal flame.
Still there is a slight indication that the service was not wholly
without danger from the goadings of vengeance or the courage of despair,
when the Council of Béziers, in 1246, ordering travelling inquests,
makes exception in the cases when it may not be safe for the inquisitors
to personally visit the places where the inquisition should be held; and
Innocent IV., in 1247, authorizes the inquisitors to cite the accused to
come to them, in view of the perils arising from the ambushes of

The fearless and indefatigable men who now performed the functions of
inquisitor in Languedoc can rarely have taken advantage of this
concession to weakness. Bernard de Caux, who so well earned the title of
the hammer of heretics, was at this time the leading spirit of the
Inquisition of Toulouse, after a term of service in Montpellier and
Agen, and he had for colleague a kindred spirit in Jean de Saint-Pierre.
Together they made a thorough inquest over the whole province, passing
the population through a sieve with a completeness which must have left
few guilty consciences unexamined. There is extant a fragmentary record
of this inquest, covering the years 1245 and 1246, during which no less
than six hundred places were investigated, embracing about one half of
Languedoc. The magnitude of the work thus undertaken, and the incredible
energy with which it was pushed, is seen in the enormous number of
interrogatories recorded in petty towns. Thus at Avignonet there are two
hundred and thirty; at Fanjoux, one hundred; at Mas-Saintes-Puelles,
four hundred and twenty. M. Molinier, to whom we are indebted for an
account of this interesting document, has not made an accurate count of
the whole number of cases, but estimates that the total cannot fall far
short of eight thousand to ten thousand. When we consider what all this
involved in the duty of examination and comparison we may well feel
wonder at the superhuman energy of these founders of the Inquisition;
but we may also assume, as with the sentences of Pierre Cella, that the
fate of the victims who were sifted out of this mass of testimony must
have been passed upon with no proper or conscientious scrutiny. At
least, however, they must have escaped the long and torturing delays
customary in the later and more leisurely stages of the Inquisition.
With such a record before us it is not easy to understand the complaint
of the bishops of Languedoc, in 1245, that the Inquisition was too
merciful, that heresy was increasing, and that the inquisitors ought to
be urged to greater exertions. It was possibly in consequence of the
lack of harmony thus revealed between the episcopate and the Inquisition
that Innocent, in April of the same year, ordered the Inquisitors of
Languedoc to proceed as usual in cases of manifest heresy, and in those
involving slight punishment, while he directed them to suspend
proceedings in matters requiring imprisonment, crosses, long
pilgrimages, and confiscation until definite rules should be laid down
in the Council of Lyons, which he was about to open. These questions,
however, were settled in that of Béziers, which met in 1246, and issued
a new code of procedure.[51]

In all this Count Raymond, now thoroughly fitted in the Catholic groove,
was an earnest participant. As his stormy life drew to its close,
harmony with the Church was too great an element of comfort and
prosperity for him to hesitate in purchasing it with the blood of a few
of his subjects, whom, indeed, he could scarce have saved had he so
willed. He gave conspicuous evidence of his hatred of heresy. In 1247 he
ordered his officials to compel the attendance of the inhabitants at the
sermons of the friars in all towns and villages through which they
passed, and in 1249, at Berlaiges, near Agen, he coldly ordered the
burning of eighty believers who had confessed their errors in his
presence--a piece of cruelty far transcending that habitual with the
inquisitors. About the same time King Jayme of Aragon effected a change
in the Inquisition in the territories of Narbonne. Possibly this may
have had some connection with the murder by the citizens of two
officials of the Inquisition and the destruction of its records, giving
endless trouble in the effort to reconstruct the lists of sentences and
the invaluable accumulation of evidence against suspects. Be this as it
may, Innocent IV., at the request of the king, forbade the archbishop
and inquisitors from further proceedings against heresy, and then
empowered the Dominican Provincial of Spain and Raymond of Pennaforte to
appoint new ones for the French possessions of Aragon.[52]

When St. Louis undertook his disastrous crusade to Damietta he was
unwilling to leave behind him so dangerous a vassal as Raymond. The vow
of service to Palestine had long since been remitted by Innocent IV.,
but the count was open to persuasion, and the bribes offered show at
once the importance attached to his presence with the host and to his
absence from home. The king promised him twenty thousand to thirty
thousand livres for his expenses and the restitution of the duchy of
Narbonne on his return. The pope agreed to pay him two thousand marks on
his arrival beyond seas, and that he should have during his absence all
the proceeds of the redemption of vows and all legacies bequeathed to
the crusade. The prohibition of imposing penitential crusades on
converted heretics was also suspended for his benefit, while the other
long pilgrimages customarily employed as penances were not to be
enjoined while he was in service. Stimulated by these dazzling rewards,
he assumed the cross in earnest, and his ardor for the purity of the
faith grew stronger. Even the tireless activity of Bernard de Caux was
insufficient to satisfy him. While that incomparable persecutor was
devoting all his energies to working up the results of his tremendous
inquests, Raymond, early in 1248, complained to Innocent that the
Inquisition was neglecting its duty; that heretics, both living and
dead, remained uncondemned; that others from abroad were coming into his
own and neighboring territories and spreading their pestilence, so that
the land which had been well-nigh purified was again filled with

Death spared Raymond the misfortunes of the ill-starred Egyptian
crusade. When his preparations were almost complete he was seized with
mortal illness and died, September 27, 1249, with his latest breath
ordering his heirs to restore the sums which he had received for the
expedition, and to send fifty knights to serve in Palestine for a year.
That his death was generally regretted by his subjects we can readily
believe. Not only was it the extinction of the great house which had
bravely held its own from Carlovingian times, but the people felt that
the last barrier between them and the hated Frenchmen was removed. The
heiress Jeanne had been educated at the royal court, and was French in
all but birth. Moreover, she seems to have been a nonentity whose
influence is imperceptible, and the sceptre of the South passed into the
hands of Alphonse of Poitiers, an avaricious and politic prince, whose
zeal for orthodoxy was greatly stimulated by the profitable
confiscations resulting from persecution. Raymond had required repeated
urging to induce him to employ this dreaded penalty with the needful
severity. No such watchfulness was necessary in the case of Alphonse.
When the rich heritage fell in, he and his wife were with his brother,
King Louis, in Egypt, but the vigilant regent, Queen Blanche, promptly
took possession in their name, and on their return, in 1251, they
personally received the homage of their subjects. By a legal subtlety
Alphonse evaded the payment of the pious legacies of Raymond’s will, and
compounded for it by leaving, on his departure for the North, a large
sum to provide for the expenses of the Inquisition, and to furnish wood
for the execution of its sentences. Not long afterwards we find him
urging his bishops to render more efficient support to the labors of the
inquisitors; in his chancery there was a regular formula of a commission
for inquisitors, to be sent to Rome for the papal signature; and
throughout his twenty years of reign he pursued the same policy without
deviation. The urgency with which, in December, 1268, he wrote to Pons
de Poyet and Étienne de Gátine, stimulating them to redoubled activity
in clearing his dominions of heretics, was wholly superfluous, but it is
characteristic of the line of action which he carried out consistently
to the end.[54]

The fate of Languedoc was now irrevocably sealed. Hitherto there had
been hopes that perhaps Raymond’s inconstancy might lead him to retrace
the steps of the last few years. Moreover, his subjects had shared in
the desire, manifested in his repeated marriage projects, that he should
have an heir to inherit the lands not pledged in succession to his
daughter. He was but in his fifty-first year, and the expectation was
not unreasonable that his line might be perpetuated and the southern
nationality be preserved. All this was now seen to be a delusion, and
the most sanguine Catharan could look forward to nothing but a life of
concealment ending in prison or fire. Yet the heretic Church stubbornly
held its own, though with greatly diminished numbers. Many of its
members fled to Lombardy, where, even after the death of Frederic II.,
the civic troubles and the policy of local despots, such as Ezzelin da
Romano, afforded some shelter from the Inquisition. Yet many remained
and pursued their wandering missions among the faithful, perpetually
tracked by inquisitorial spies, but rarely betrayed. These humble and
forgotten men, hopelessly braving hardship, toil, and peril in what they
deemed the cause of God, were true martyrs, and their steadfast heroism
shows how little relation the truth of a religion bears to the
self-devotion of its followers. Rainerio Saccone, the converted
Catharan, who had the best means of ascertaining the facts, computes,
about this time, that there were in Lombardy one hundred and fifty
“perfected” refugees from France, while the churches of Toulouse,
Carcassonne, and Albi, including that of Agen, then nearly destroyed,
numbered two hundred more. These figures would indicate that a very
considerable congregation of believers still existed in spite of the
systematic and ruthless proscription of the past twenty years. Their
earnestness was kept alive, not only by the occasional and dearly-prized
visits of the travelling ministers, but by the frequent intercourse
which was maintained with Lombardy. Until the disappearance of the sect
on this side of the Alps, there is, in the confessions of penitents,
perpetual allusion to these pilgrimages back and forth, which kept up
the relations between the refugees and those left at home. Thus, in
1254, Guillem Fournier, in an interrogatory before the Inquisition of
Toulouse, relates that he started for Italy with five companions,
including two women. His first resting-place was at Coni, where he met
many heretics; then at Pavia, where he was hereticated by Raymond
Mercier, former deacon of Toulouse. At Cremona he lived for a year with
Vivien, the much-loved Bishop of Toulouse, with whom he found a number
of noble refugees. At Pisa he stayed for eight months; at Piacenza he
again met Vivien, and he finally returned to Languedoc with messages
from the refugees to their friends at home. In 1300, at Albi, Étienne
Mascot confesses that he had been sent to Lombardy by Master Raymond
Calverie to bring back Raymond André, or some other perfected heretic.
At Genoa he met Bertrand Fabri, who had been sent on the same errand by
Guillem Golfier. They proceeded together and met other old
acquaintances, now refugees, who conducted them to a spot where, in a
wood, were several houses of refuge for heretics. The lord of the place
gave them a Lombard, Guglielmo Pagani, who returned with them. In 1309
Guillem Falquet confessed at Toulouse to having been four times to Como,
and even to Sicily, organizing the Church. He was caught while visiting
a sick believer, and condemned to imprisonment in chains, but managed to
escape in 1313. At the same time was sentenced Raymond de Verdun, who
had likewise been four times to Lombardy.[55]

The proscribed heretics, thus nursing their faith in secret, gave the
inquisitors ample occupation. As their ranks were thinned by persecution
and flight, and as their skill in concealment increased with experience,
there could no longer be the immense harvests of penitents reaped by
Pierre Gella and Bernard de Caux, but there were enough to reward the
energies of the friars and to tax the adroitness of their spies. The
organization of the Inquisition, moreover, was gradually perfected. In
1254 the Council of Albi carefully revised the regulations concerning
it. Fixed tribunals were established, and the limitations of the
inquisitorial districts were strictly defined. For Provence and the
territories east of the Rhone, Marseilles was the headquarters,
eventually confided to the Franciscans. The rest of the infected regions
were left to the Dominicans, with tribunals at Toulouse, Carcassonne,
and Narbonne; and, from such fragmentary documents as have reached us,
at this time the Inquisition at Carcassonne rivalled that of Toulouse in
energy and effectiveness. For a while safety was sought by heretics in
northern France, but the increasing vigor of the Inquisition established
there drove the unfortunate refugees back, and in 1255 a bull of
Alexander IV. authorized the Provincial of Paris and his inquisitors to
pursue the fugitives in the territories of the Count of Toulouse. At the
same time the special functions of the inquisitors were jealously
guarded against all encroachments. We have seen how, in its early days,
it was subjected to the control of papal legates, but now that it was
firmly established and thoroughly organized it was held independent; and
when the legate Zoen, Bishop of Avignon, in 1257, endeavored, in virtue
of his legatine authority, which fourteen years before had been so
absolute, to perform inquisitorial work, he was rudely reminded by
Alexander IV. that he could do so if he pleased in his own diocese, but
that outside of it he must not interfere with the Inquisition. To this
period is also to be ascribed the complete subjection of all secular
officials to the behests of the inquisitors. The piety of St. Louis and
the greed of Alphonse of Poitiers and Charles of Anjou rivalled each
other in placing all the powers of the State at the disposal of the Holy
Office, and in providing for its expenses. It was virtually supreme in
the land, and, as we have seen, it was a law unto itself.[56]

The last shadow of open resistance was dissipated in the year 1255.
After the fall of Montségur the proscribed and disinherited knights,
the _faidits_, and the heretics had sought to establish among the
mountains some stronghold where they could feel safe for a moment.
Driven from one retreat after another, they finally took possession of
the castle of Quéribus, in the Pyrenees of Fenouillèdes. In the early
spring of 1255 this last refuge was besieged by Pierre d’Auteuil, the
royal Seneschal of Carcassonne. The defence was stubborn. May 5 the
seneschal appealed to the bishops sitting in council at Béziers to give
him assistance, as they had done so energetically at Montségur. The
reply of the prelates was commendably cautious. They were not bound,
they said, to render military service to the king, and when they had
joined his armies it had been by command of a legate or of their
primate, the Archbishop of Narbonne. Nevertheless, as common report
described Quéribus as a receptacle of heretics, thieves, and robbers,
and its reduction was a good work for the faith and for peace, they
would each one, without derogating from his rights, furnish such
assistance as seemed to him fitting. It may be assumed from this that
the seneschal had to do the work unaided; in fact, he complained to the
king that the prelates rather impeded than assisted him, but by August
the place was in his hands, and nothing remained for the outlaws but the
forest and the caverns. In that savage region the dense undergrowth
afforded many a hiding-place, and an attempt was made to cut away the
briers and thorns which served as shelter for ruined noble and hunted
Catharan. The work was undertaken by a certain Bernard, who thence
acquired the name of Espinasser or thorn-cutter. Popular hatred has
preserved his remembrance, and expresses its sentiment in a myth which
gibbets him in the moon.[57]

With the land at its feet, the Inquisition, in the plenitude of its
power, had no hesitation in attacking the loftiest nobles, for all men
were on a level in the eyes of the Most High, and the Holy Office was
the avenger of God. The most powerful vassal of the houses of Toulouse
and Aragon was the Count of Foix, whose extensive territories on both
sides of the Pyrenees rendered him almost independent in his mountain
fastnesses. Count Roger Bernard II., known as the Great, had been one of
the bravest and most obstinate defenders of the land, and, after the
pacification of 1229, Raymond had been obliged to threaten him with war
to force him to submit. His memory was proudly treasured in the land as
“_Rogier Bernat lo pros et sens dengun reproche_.” His family was
deeply tinctured with heresy. His wife and one of his sisters were
Waldenses, another sister was a Catharan, and the monk of Vaux-Cernay
describes him as an enemy of God and a cruel persecutor of the Church.
Yet, when he yielded in 1229, although he does not seem to have
energetically fulfilled his oath to persecute heresy in his domains, for
in 1233 we hear of his holding a personal conference at Aix with the
heretic bishop Bertrand Martin, he was in other respects a loyal subject
and faithful son of the Church. In 1237 he counselled his son, then
Vizconde de Castelbo in Aragon, to allow the Inquisition in his lands,
which resulted in the condemnation of many heretics, although Ponce,
Bishop of Urgel, his personal enemy, had refused to relieve him of
excommunication as a fautor of heresy until 1240, when he submitted to
the conditions imposed, abjured heresy, and was reconciled. At his
death, in 1241, he left liberal bequests to the Church, and especially
to his ancestral Cistercian Abbey of Bolbonne, in which he died in
monkish habit, after duly receiving the sacraments. His son, Roger IV.,
gave the _coup de grâce_ to the rising of 1242, by placing himself under
the immediate sovereignty of the crown, and defeating Raymond after the
victories of St. Louis had driven back the English and Gascons. He had
some troubles with the Inquisition, but a bull of Innocent IV., in 1248,
eulogizes his devotion to the Holy See, and rewards him with the power
to release from the saffron crosses six penitents of his choice; and in
1261 he issued an edict commanding the enforcement of the rule that no
office within his domains should be held by any one condemned to wear
crosses, any one suspected of heresy, or the son of any one similarly

All this would seem to give ample guarantee of the orthodoxy and loyalty
of the House of Foix, but the Inquisition could not condone its ancient
patriotism and tolerance. Besides, if Roger Bernard the Great could be
convicted of heresy, the confiscation of the broad inheritance would
effect a great political object and afford ample spoils for all
concerned. Twenty-two years after his death, therefore, in 1263,
proceedings were commenced against his memory. A faithful servitor of
the old count still survived, Raymond Bernard de Flascan, bailli of
Mazères, who had attended his lord day and night during his last
sickness. If he could be brought to swear that he had seen heretication
performed on the death-bed, the desirable object would be attained.
Frère Pons, the Inquisitor of Carcassonne, came to Mazères, found the
old man an unsatisfactory witness, and threw him into a dungeon.
Suffering under a severe strangury, he was starved and tormented with
all the cruel ingenuity of the Inquisition, and interrogated at
intervals, without his resolution giving way. This was continued for
thirty-two days, when Pons resolved to carry him back to Carcassonne,
where possibly the appliances for bringing refractory witnesses to terms
were more efficacious. Before the journey, which he expected to be his
last, the faithful bailli was given a day’s respite at the Abbey of
Bolbonne, which he utilized by executing a notarial instrument, November
26, 1263, attested by two abbots and a number of monks, in which he
recited the trials already endured, solemnly declared that he had never
seen the old count do anything contrary to the faith of Rome, but that
he had died as a good Catholic, and that if, under the severe torture to
which he expected to be subjected, human weakness should lead him to
assert anything else, he would be a liar and a traitor, and no credence
should be given to his words. It would be difficult to conceive of a
more damning revelation of inquisitorial methods; yet fifty years later,
when those methods had been perfected, all concerned in the preparation
of the instrument, whether as notary or witnesses, would have been
prosecuted as impeders of the Inquisition, to be severely punished as
fautors of heresy.[59]

What became of the poor wretch does not appear. Doubtless he perished in
the terrible Mura of Carcassonne under the combination of disease,
torture, and starvation. His judicial murder, however, was gratuitous,
for the old count’s memory remained uncondemned. Yet Roger Bernard
III., despite the papal favor and the proofs he had given of adhesion to
the new order of things, was a perpetual target for inquisitorial
malice. When lying in mortal illness at Mazères, in December, 1264, he
received from Étienne de Gâtine, then Inquisitor of Narbonne, an
imperious order, with threats of prosecution in case of failure, to
capture and deliver up his bailli of Foix, Pierre André, who was suspect
of heresy and had fled on being cited to appear. The count dared only in
reply to express surprise that no notice had been given him that his
bailli was wanted, adding that he had issued orders for his arrest, and
would have personally joined in the pursuit had not sickness rendered
him incapable. At the same time he requested “Apostoli,” and appealed
to the pope, to whom he retailed his grievances. The inquisitors, he
said, had never ceased persecuting him; at the head of armed forces they
were in the habit of devastating his lands under pretext of searching
for heretics, and they would bring in their train and under their
protection his special enemies, until his territories were nearly ruined
and his jurisdiction set at naught. He, therefore, placed himself and
his dominions under the protection of the Holy See. He probably escaped
further personal troubles, for he died two months later, in February,
1265, like his father, in the Cistercian habit, and in the Abbey of
Bolbonne; but in 1292 his memory was assailed before Bertrand de
Clermont, Inquisitor of Carcassonne. The effort was fruitless, for in
1297 Bertrand gave to his son, Roger Bernard IV., a declaration that the
accusation had been disproved, and that neither he nor his father should
suffer in person or property in consequence of it.[60]

When such were the persecutions to which the greatest were exposed it is
easy to understand the tyranny exercised over the whole land by the
irresponsible power of the inquisitors. No one was so loftily placed as
to be beyond their reach, no one so humble as to escape their spies.
When once they had cause of enmity with a man there was no further peace
for him. The only appeal from them was to the pope, and not only was
Rome distant, but the avenue to it lay, as we have seen, in their own
hands. Human wickedness and folly have erected, in the world’s history,
more violent despotisms, but never one more cruel, more benumbing, or
more all-pervading.

For the next twenty years there is little worthy of special note in the
operations of the Inquisition of Languedoc. It pursued its work
continuously with occasional outbursts of energy. Étienne de Gâtine, and
Pons de Poyet, who presided over its tribunals for many years, were no
sluggards, and the period from 1373 to 1375 rewarded their industry with
an abundant harvest. Though heretics naturally grew scarcer with the
unintermitting pursuit of so many years, there was still the exhaustless
catalogue of the dead, whose exhumation furnished an impressive
spectacle for the mob, while their confiscations were welcome to the
pious princes, and contributed largely to the change of ownership of
land which was a political consummation so desirable. Yet heresy with
incredible stubbornness maintained itself, though its concealment grew
ever more difficult, and Italy grew less safe as a refuge and less
prolific as a source of inspiration.[61]

In 1271 Alphonse and Jeanne, who had accompanied St. Louis in his
unlucky crusade to Tunis, died without issue, during the homeward
journey. The line of Raymond was thus extinct, and the land passed
irrevocably to the crown. Philippe le Hardi took possession even of the
territories which Jeanne had endeavored, as was her right, to alienate
by will, and though he surrendered the Agenois to Henry III., he
succeeded in retaining Querci. No opposition was made to the change of
masters. When, October 8, 1271, Guillaume de Cobardon, royal Seneschal
of Carcassonne, issued his orders regulating the new _régime_, one of
the first things thought of was the confiscations. All castles and
villages which had been forfeited for heresy were taken into the king’s
hand, without prejudice to the right of those to whom they might belong,
thus throwing the burden of proof upon all claimants, and cutting out
assigns under alienations. In 1272 Philippe paid a visit to his new
territories; it was designed to be peaceful, but some violences
committed by Roger Bernard IV. of Foix caused him to come at the head of
an army, with which he easily overcame the resistance of the count,
occupied his lands, and threw him into a dungeon. Released in 1273, the
count in 1276 rendered such assistance in the invasion of Navarre that
Philippe took him into favor and restored his castles, on his renouncing
all allegiance to Aragon. Thus the last show of independence in the
South was broken down, and the monarchy was securely planted on its

This consolidation of the south of France under the kings of Paris was
not without compensating advantages. The monarch was rapidly acquiring a
centralized power, which was very different from the overlordship of a
feudal suzerain. The study of the Roman law was beginning to bear fruit
in the State as well as in the Church, and the imperial theories of
absolutism as inherent in kingship were gradually altering all the old
relations. The king’s court was expanding into the Parlement, and was
training a school of subtle and resolute civil lawyers who lost no
opportunity of extending the royal jurisdiction, and of legislating for
the whole land in the guise of rendering judgments. In the appeals which
came ever more thickly crowding into the Parlement from every quarter,
the mailed baron found himself hopelessly entangled in the legal
intricacies which were robbing him of his seignorial rights almost
without his knowledge; and the Ordonnances, or general laws, which
emanated from the throne, were constantly encroaching on old privileges,
weakening local jurisdictions, and giving to the whole country a body of
jurisprudence in which the crown combined both the legislative and the
executive functions. If it thus was enabled to oppress, it was likewise
stronger to defend, while the immense extension of the royal domains
since the beginning of the century gave it the physical ability to
enforce its growing prerogatives.

It was impossible that this metamorphosis in the national institutions
could be effected without greatly modifying the relations between Church
and State. Thus even the saintliness of Louis IX. did not prevent him
from defending himself and his subjects from ecclesiastical domination
in a spirit very different from that which any French monarch had
ventured to exhibit since the days of Charlemagne. The change became
still more manifest under his grandson, Philippe le Bel. Though but
seventeen years of age when he succeeded to the throne in 1286, his rare
ability and vigorous temper soon led him to assert the royal power in
incisive fashion. He recognized, within the boundaries of his kingdom,
no superior, secular or spiritual. Had he entertained any scruples of
conscience, his legal counsellors could easily remove them. To such men
as Pierre Flotte and Guillaume de Nogaret the true position of the
Church was that of subjection to the State, as it had been under the
successors of Constantine, and in their eyes Boniface VIII. was to their
master scarce more than Pope Vigilius had been to Justinian. Few among
the revenges of time are more satisfying than the catastrophe of Anagni,
in 1303, when Nogaret and Sciarra Colonna laid hands on the vicegerent
of God, and Boniface passionately replied to Nogaret’s reproaches, “I
can patiently endure to be condemned and deposed by a Patarin”--for
Nogaret was born at St. Felix de Caraman, and his ancestors were said to
have been burned as Cathari. If this be true he must have been more than
human if he did not feel special gratification when, at command of his
master, he appeared before Clement V. with a formal accusation of heresy
against Boniface, and demanded that the dead pope’s bones be dug up and
burned. The citizens of Toulouse recognized him as an avenger of their
wrongs when they placed his bust in the gallery of their illustrious men
in the Hôtel-de-ville.[63]

It was to the royal power, thus rising to supremacy, that the people
instinctively turned for relief from the inquisitorial tyranny which was
becoming insupportable. The authority lodged in the hands of the
inquisitor was so arbitrary and irresponsible that even with the purest
intentions it could not but be unpopular, while to the unworthy it
afforded unlimited opportunity for oppression and the gratification of
the basest passions. Dangerous as was any manifestation of discontent,
the people of Albi and Carcassonne, reduced to despair by the cruelty of
the inquisitors, Jean Galande and Jean Vigoureux, mustered courage, and
in 1280 presented their complaints to Philippe le Hardi. It was
difficult to sustain their charges with specific proofs, and after a
brief investigation their reiterated requests for relief were dismissed
as frivolous. In the agitation against the Inquisition thus commenced,
it must be borne in mind that heretics had little to do. By this time
they were completely cowed and were quite satisfied if they could enjoy
their faith in secret. The opposition arose from good Catholics, the
magistrates of cities and substantial burghers, who saw the prosperity
of the land withering under the deadly grasp of the Holy Office, and who
felt that no man was safe whose wealth might arouse cupidity or whose
independence might provoke revenge. The introduction of the use of
torture impressed the popular imagination with special horror, and it
was widely believed that confessions were habitually extorted by
insufferable torment from rich men whose faith was unblemished. The
cruel provisions which brought confiscation on the descendants of
heretics, moreover, were peculiarly hard to endure, for ruin impended
over every one against whom the inquisitor might see fit to produce from
his records evidence of ancestral heresy. It was against these records
that the next attempt was directed. Foiled in their appeal to the
throne, the consuls of Carcassonne and some of its prominent
ecclesiastics, in 1283 or 1284, formed a conspiracy to destroy the books
of the Inquisition containing the confessions and depositions. How far
this was organized it would be difficult now to say. The statements of
the witnesses conflict so hopelessly on material points, even as to
dates, that there is little dependence to be placed on them. They were
evidently extracted under torture, and if they are credible the consuls
of the city and the archdeacon, Sanche Morlana, the episcopal Ordinary,
Guillem Brunet, other episcopal officials and many of the secular clergy
were not only implicated in the plot, but were heretics in full
affiliation with the Cathari. Whether true or false they show that there
was the sharpest antagonism between the Inquisition and the local
Church. The whole has an air of unreality which renders one doubtful
about accepting any portion, but there must have been some foundation
for the story. According to the evidence Bernard Garric, who had been a
perfected heretic and a _filius major_, but had been converted and was
now a familiar of the Inquisition, was selected as the instrument. He
was approached, and after some bargaining he agreed to deliver the
books for two hundred livres Tournois, for the payment of which the
consuls went security. How the attempt failed and how it was discovered
does not appear, but probably Bernard at the first overtures confided
the plot to his superiors and led on the conspirators to their ruin.[64]

The whole community was now at the mercy of the Inquisition, and it was
not disposed to be lenient in its triumph. While the trials were yet
going on, the citizens made a fresh appeal to Pierre Chalus, the royal
chancellor, who was passing through Toulouse on a mission from the court
of Paris to that of Aragon. This was easily disposed of, for on
September 13, 1285, the inquisitors triumphantly brought before him
Bernard Garric to repeat the confession made a week previous. He had
thoroughly learned his lesson, and the only conclusion which the royal
representative could reach was that Carcassonne was a hopeless nest of
heretics, deserving the severest measures of repression. As a last
resort recourse was had to Honorius IV., but the only result was a brief
from him to the inquisitors expressing his grief that the people of
Carcassonne should be impeding the Inquisition with all their strength,
and ordering the punishment of the recalcitrants irrespective of their
station, order, or condition, an expression which shows that the
opposition had not arisen from heretics.[65]

In reply to these complaints the inquisitors could urge with some truth
that heresy, though hidden, was still busy. Although heretic seigneurs
and nobles had been by this time well-nigh destroyed and their lands had
passed to others, there was still infection among the bourgeoisie of the
cities and the peasantry. It is one of the noteworthy features of
Catharism, moreover, that at no time during its existence were lacking
earnest and devoted ministers, who took their lives in their hands and
wandered around in secret among the faithful, administering spiritual
comfort and instruction, making converts where they could, exhorting the
young and hereticating the old. In toil and hardship and peril they
pursued their work, gliding by night from one place of concealment to
another, and their self-devotion was rivalled by that of their
disciples. Few more touching narratives can be conceived than those
which could be constructed from the artless confessions extorted from
the peasant-folk who fell into the hands of the inquisitors--the humble
alms which they gave, pieces of bread, fish, scraps of cloth, or small
coins, the hiding-places which they constructed in their cabins, the
guidance given by night through places of danger, and, more than all,
the steadfast fidelity which refused to betray their pastors when the
inquisitor suddenly appeared and offered the alternative of free pardon
or the dungeon and confiscation. The self-devotion of the minister was
well matched with the quiet heroism of the believer. To this fidelity
and the complete network of secret organization which extended over the
land may be attributed the marvellously long exemption which many of
these ministers enjoyed in their proselyting missions. Two of the most
prominent of them at this period, Raymond Delboc and Raymond Godayl, or
Didier, had already, in 1276, been condemned by the Inquisition of
Carcassonne as perfected heretics and fugitives, but they kept at their
work until the explosion of 1300, incessantly active, with the
inquisitors always in pursuit but unable to overtake them. Guillem Pagès
is another whose name constantly recurs in the confessions of
heretications during an almost equally long period. The inquisitors
might well urge that their utmost efforts were needed, but their methods
were such that even the best intentions would not have saved the
innocent from suffering with the guilty.[66]

The secretly guilty were quite sufficiently influential, and the
innocent sufficiently apprehensive, to keep up the agitation which had
been commenced, and at last it began to bear fruit. A new inquisitor of
Carcassonne, Nicholas d’Abbeville, was quite as cruel and arbitrary as
his predecessors, and when the people prepared an appeal to the king he
promptly threw into jail the notary who drew up the paper. In their
desperation they disregarded this warning; a deputation was sent to the
court, and this time they were listened to. May 13, 1291, Philippe
addressed a letter to his Seneschal of Carcassonne reciting the injuries
inflicted by the Inquisition on the innocent through the newly-invented
system of torture, by means of which the living and the dead were
fraudulently convicted and the whole land scandalized and rendered
desolate. The royal officials were therefore ordered no longer to obey
the commands of the inquisitors in making arrests, unless the accused be
a confessed heretic or persons worthy of faith vouch for his being
publicly defamed for heresy. A month later he reiterated these orders
even more precisely, and announced his intention of sending deputies to
Languedoc armed with full authority to make permanent provision in the
matter. It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of these
manifestoes as marking a new era in the relations between the temporal
and spiritual authorities. For far less than this all the chivalry and
scum of Europe had been promised salvation if they would drive Raymond
of Toulouse from his inheritance.[67]

It was probably to break in some degree the force of this unheard-of
interference with inquisitorial supremacy that in September, 1292,
Guillem de Saint-Seine, Inquisitor of Carcassonne, ordered all the
parish priests in his district for three weeks on Sundays and
feast-days to denounce as excommunicate all who should impede the
business of the Inquisition and all notaries who should wickedly draw up
revocations of confessions for heretics. This could not effect much, nor
was anything accomplished by a Parlement held April 14, 1293, at
Montpellier, by the royal chamberlain, Alphonse de Ronceyrac, of all the
royal officials and inquisitors of Toulouse and Carcassonne to reform
the abuses of all jurisdictions.[68]

Shortly after this, in September, 1293, Philippe went a step further and
threw his ægis over the unfortunate Jew. Although Jews as a class were
not liable to persecution by the Inquisition, still, if after being once
converted they reverted to Judaism, or if they proselyted among
Christians to obtain converts, or if they were themselves converts from
Christianity, they were heretics in the eyes of the Church, they fell
under inquisitorial jurisdiction, and were liable to be abandoned to the
secular arm. All these classes were a source of endless trouble to the
Church, especially the “neophytes” or converted Jews, for feigned
conversions were frequent, either for worldly advantage or to escape the
incessant persecution visited upon the unlucky children of Israel.[69]
The bull _Turbato corde_, ordering the inquisitors to be active and
vigilant in prosecuting all who were guilty of these offences, issued in
1268 by Clement IV., was reissued by successive popes with a pertinacity
showing the importance attached to it, and when we see Frère Bertrand de
la Roche, in 1274, officially described as inquisitor in Provence
against heretics and wicked Christians who embrace Judaism, and Frère
Guillaume d’Auxerre, in 1285, qualified as “Inquisitor of Heretics and
Apostate Jews in France,” it is evident that these cases formed a large
portion of inquisitorial business. As the Jews were peculiarly
defenceless, this jurisdiction gave wide opportunity for abuse and
extortion which was doubtless turned fully to account. Philippe owed
them protection, for in 1291 he had deprived them of their own judges
and ordered them to plead in the royal courts, and now he proceeded to
protect them in the most emphatic manner. To Simon Brisetête, Seneschal
of Carcassonne, he sent a copy of the bull _Turbato corde_, with
instructions that while this was to be implicitly obeyed, no Jew was to
be arrested for any cause not specified therein, and, if there was any
doubt, the matter was to be referred to the royal council. He further
enclosed an Ordonnance directing that no Jew in France was to be
arrested on the requisition of any person or friar of any Order, no
matter what his office might be, without notifying the seneschal or
bailli, who was to decide whether the case was sufficiently clear to be
acted upon without reference to the royal council. Simon Brisetête
thereupon ordered all officials to defend the Jews, not to allow any
exactions to be imposed on them whereby their ability to pay their taxes
might be impaired, and not to arrest them at the mandate of any one
without informing him of the cause. It would not have been easy to limit
more skilfully the inquisitorial power to oppress a despised class.[70]

Philippe had thus intervened in the most decided manner, and the
oppressed populations of Languedoc might reasonably hope for permanent
relief, but his subsequent policy belied their hopes. It vacillated in a
manner which is only partially explicable by the shifting political
exigencies of the times so far as we can penetrate them. In this same
year, 1293, the Seneschal of Carcassonne is found instructing Aimeric,
the Viscount of Narbonne, to execute royal letters ordering aid to be
rendered to the inquisitors there. This may have been a mere local
matter, and Philippe, for a while at least, adhered to his position.
Towards the end of 1295 there was issued an Ordonnance of the royal
court, applicable to the whole kingdom, forbidding the arrest of any one
on the demand of a friar of any Order, no matter what his position might
be, unless the seneschal or bailli of the jurisdiction was satisfied
that the arrest should be made, and the person asking it showed a
commission from the pope. This was sent to all the royal officials with
strict injunctions to obey it, although, if the accused were likely to
fly, he might be detained, but not surrendered until the decision of the
court could be had. Moreover, if any persons were then in durance
contrary to the provisions of the Ordonnance, they were to be set at
liberty. Even this did not effect its object sufficiently, and a few
months later, in 1296, Philippe complained to his Seneschal of
Carcassonne of the numbers who were arrested by the royal officers, and
confined in the royal prisons on insufficient grounds, causing scandal
and the heavy infliction of infamy on the innocent. To prevent this
arrests were forbidden except in cases of such violent presumption of
heresy that they could not be postponed, and the officials were
instructed, when called upon by the inquisitors, to make such excuses as
they could. These orders were obeyed, for when, about this time,
Foulques de Saint-Georges, Vice-inquisitor of Carcassonne, ordered the
arrest of sundry suspects by Adam de Marolles, the deputy seneschal, the
latter referred the matter to his principal, Henri de Elisia, who, after
consultation with Robert d’Artois, lieutenant of the king in Languedoc
and Gascony, refused the demand.[71]

No previous sovereign had ventured thus to trammel the Inquisition.
These regulations, in fact, rendered it virtually powerless, for it had
no organization of its own; even its prisons were the king’s and might
be withdrawn at any time, and it depended wholly upon the secular arm
for physical force. In some places, as at Albi, it might rely upon
episcopal assistance, but elsewhere it could do nothing of itself.
Philippe had, moreover, been careful not to excite the ill-will of his
bishops, for his Ordonnances and instructions alluded simply to the
friars, thus excluding the Inquisition from royal aid without
specifically naming it. His quarrel with Boniface VIII. was now
beginning. Between January, 1296, and February, 1297, appeared the
celebrated bulls _Clericis laicos_, _Ineffabilis amoris_, _Excitat nos_,
and _Exiit a te_, whose arrogant encroachments on the secular power
aroused him to resistance, and this doubtless gave a sharper zest to his
desire to diminish in his dominions the authority of so purely papal an
institution as the Inquisition. So shrewd a prince could readily see its
effectiveness as an instrument of papal aggression, for the Church could
make what definition it pleased of heresy; and Boniface did not hesitate
to give him fair warning, when, in October, 1297, he ordered the
Inquisitor of Carcassonne to proceed against certain officials of
Béziers who had rendered themselves in the papal eyes suspect of heresy
because they remained under excommunication, incurred for imposing taxes
on the clergy, boasting that food had not lost its savor to them nor
sleep its sweetness, and who, moreover, dared with polluted lips to
revile the Holy See itself. Under such an extension of jurisdiction
Philippe himself might not be safe, and it is no wonder that tentative
efforts made in 1296 and 1297 to find some method of reconciling the
recent royal Ordonnances with the time-honored absolutism of the
Inquisition proved failures.[72]

Meanwhile, the exigencies of Italian politics caused Boniface suddenly
to retrace his steps. His quarrel with the Cardinals Giacomo and Pietro
Colonna rendered it advisable to propitiate Philippe. In May, 1297, he
assented to a tithe conceded to the king by his bishops, and in the bull
_Noveritis_ (July, 1297) he exempted France from the operation of the
_Clericis laicos_, while in _Licet per speciales_ (July, 1298) he
withdrew his arrogant pretension imperatively to prolong the armistice
between France and England. A truce was thus patched up with Philippe,
who hastened to manifest his good-will to the Holy See by abandoning his
subjects again to the inquisitors. In the Liber Sextus of the Decretals,
published by Boniface March 3, 1298, the pope included, with customary
imperiousness, a canon commanding the absolute obedience of all secular
officials to the orders of inquisitors under penalty of excommunication,
which if endured for a year carried with it condemnation for heresy.
This was his answer to the French monarch’s insubordinate legislation,
and Philippe at the moment was not inclined to contest the matter. In
September he meekly enclosed the canon to his officials with
instructions to obey it in every point, arresting and imprisoning all
whom inquisitors or bishops might designate, and punishing all whom they
might condemn. A letter of Frère Arnaud Jean, Inquisitor of Pamiers,
dated March 2, of the same year, assuring the Jews that they need dread
no novel measures of severity, would seem to indicate that the royal
protection had been previously withdrawn from them. The good
understanding between king and pope lasted until 1300, when the quarrel
broke out afresh with greater acrimony than ever. In December of that
year the provisions of _Clericis laicos_ were renewed by the bull _Nuper
ex rationalibus_, followed by the short one, of which the authenticity
is disputed, _Scire te volumus_, asserting Philippe’s subjection in
temporal affairs and calling forth his celebrated rejoinder, _Sciat tua
maxima fatuitas_. The strife continued with increasing violence till the
seizure of Boniface at Anagni, September 8, 1303, and his death in the
following month.[73]

Under this varying policy the fate of the people of Languedoc was hard.
Nicholas d’Abbeville, the Inquisitor of Carcassonne, was a man of
inflexible severity, arrogantly bent on pushing his prerogatives to the
utmost. He had an assistant worthy of him in Foulques de Saint-Georges,
the Prior of the Convent of Albi, which was under his jurisdiction. He
had virtually another assistant in the bishop, Bernard de Castanet, who
delighted to act as inquisitor, impelled alike by fanaticism and by
greed, for, as we have seen, the bishops of Albi, by a special
transaction with St. Louis, enjoyed a half of the confiscations. Prior
to his elevation in 1276 Bernard had been auditor of the papal camera,
which shows him to have been an accomplished legist, and he was also a
patron of art and literature, but he was ever in trouble with his
people. Already, in 1277, he had succeeded in so exasperating them that
his palace was swept by a howling mob, and he barely escaped with his
life. In 1282 he commenced the erection of the cathedral of St. Cecilia,
a gigantic building, half church, half fortress, which swallowed
enormous sums, and stimulated his hatred of heresy by supplying a pious
use for the estates of heretics.[74]

To such men the protection granted to his subjects by Philippe was most
distasteful, and not without reason. Heretics naturally took advantage
of the restrictions imposed on the Inquisition and redoubled their
activity. It might seem, indeed, to them that the day of supremacy of
the Church was past, and that the rising independence of the secular
power might usher in an era of comparative toleration, in which their
persecuted religion would at length find its oft-deferred opportunity of
converting mankind--a dream in which they indulged to the last. More
demonstrative, if not more earnest, was the feeling which the royal
policy aroused in Carcassonne. The Ordonnances had not only crippled the
Inquisition, but had shown the disfavor with which it was regarded by
the king, and in 1295 some of the leading citizens, who had been
compromised in the trials of 1285, found no difficulty in arousing the
people to open resistance. For a while they controlled the city, and
inflicted no little injury on the Dominicans, and on all who ventured to
support them. Nicholas d’Abbeville was driven from the pulpit when
preaching, pelted with stones and pursued with drawn swords, and the
judges of the royal court on one occasion were glad to escape with their
lives, while the friars were beaten and insulted when they appeared in
public and were practically segregated as excommunicates. Bernard Gui,
an eye-witness, naturally attributes this to the influence of heresy,
but it is impossible for us now to conjecture how much may have been due
to religious antagonism, and how much to the natural reaction among the
orthodox against the intolerable oppression of the inquisitorial

For some years the Inquisition of Carcassonne was suspended. As soon as
secular support was withdrawn public opinion was too strong, and it
succumbed. This lasted until the truce between king and pope again
placed the royal power at the disposal of the inquisitors. In their
despair the citizens then sent envoys to Boniface VIII., with Aimeric
Castel at their head, supported by a number of Franciscans. Boniface
listened to their complaints and proposed to depute the Bishop of
Vicenza as commissioner to examine and report, but the papal
referendary, afterwards Cardinal of S. Sabina, required a bribe of ten
thousand florins as a preliminary. It was promised him, but Aimeric,
having secured the good offices of Pierre Flotte and the Duke of
Burgundy, thought he could obtain his purpose for less, and refused to
pay it. When Boniface heard of the refusal he angrily exclaimed, “We
know in whom they trust, but by God all the kings in Christendom shall
not save the people of Carcassonne from being burned, and specially the
father of that Aimeric Castel!” The negotiation fell through, and
Nicholas d’Abbeville had his triumph. A large portion of the citizens
were wearied with the disturbances, and were impatient under the
excommunication which rested on the community. The prosperity of the
town was declining, and there were not wanting those who predicted its
ruin. The hopelessness of further resistance was apparent, and matters
being thus ripe for a settlement, a solemn assembly was held, April 27,
1299, when the civic magistrates met the inquisitor in the presence of
the Bishops of Albi and Béziers, Bertrand de Clermont, Inquisitor of
Toulouse, the royal officials, sundry abbots and other notables.
Nicholas dictated his own terms for the absolution asked at his hands,
nor were they seemingly harsh. Those who were manifest heretics, or
specially defamed, or convicted by legal proof must take their chance.
The rest were to be penanced as the bishops and the Abbot of Fontfroide
might advise, excluding confiscation and personal or humiliating
penalties. All this was reasonable enough from an ecclesiastical point
of view, but so deep-seated was the distrust, or so strong the heretical
influence, that the people asked twenty-four hours for consideration,
and on reassembling the next day refused the terms. Six months passed,
their helplessness and isolation each day becoming more apparent, until,
October 8, they reassembled, and the consuls asked for absolution in the
name of the community. Nicholas was not severe. The penance imposed on
the town was the building of a chapel in honor of St. Louis, which was
accomplished in the year 1300 at the cost of ninety livres Tournois. The
consuls, in the name of the community, secretly abjured heresy. Twelve
of the most guilty citizens were reserved for special penances, viz.,
four of the old consuls, four councillors, two advocates, and two
notaries. Of these the fate was doubtless deplorable. Chance has
preserved to us the sentence passed on one of the authors of the
troubles, Guillem Garric, by which we find that he rotted in the
horrible dungeon of Carcassonne for twenty-two years before he was
brought forward for judgment in 1321, when in consideration of his long
confinement he was given the choice between the crusade and exile, and
the crushed old man fell on his knees and gave thanks to Jesus Christ
and to the inquisitors for the mercy vouchsafed him. Some years later
intense excitement was created when Frère Bernard Délicieux obtained
sight of the agreement, and discovered that the consuls had been
represented in it as confessing that the whole community had given aid
to manifest heretics, that they had abjured in the name of all, and thus
that all citizens were incapacitated for office and were exposed to the
penalties of relapse in case of further trouble. This excited the people
to such a point that the inquisitor, Geoffroi d’Ablis, was obliged to
issue a solemn declaration, August 10, 1303, disclaiming any intention
of thus taking advantage of the settlement; and notwithstanding this,
when King Philippe came to Carcassonne in 1305 the agreement was
pronounced fraudulent, the seneschal Gui Caprier was dismissed for
having affixed his seal to it, and confessed that he had been bribed to
do so by Nicholas d’Abbeville with a thousand livres Tournois.[76]

Encouraged by the crippling and suspension of the Inquisition, the
Catharan propaganda had been at work with renewed vigor. In 1299 the
Council of Béziers sounded the alarm by announcing that perfected
heretics had made their appearance in the land, and ordering close
search made after them. At Albi, Bishop Bernard was, as usual, at
variance with his flock, who were pleading against him in the royal
court to preserve their jurisdiction. The occasion was opportune. He
called to his assistance the inquisitors Nicholas d’Abbeville and
Bertrand de Clermont, and towards the close of the year 1299 the town
was startled by the arrest of twenty-five of the wealthiest and most
respected citizens, whose regular attendance at mass and observance of
all religious duties had rendered them above suspicion. The trials were
pushed with unusual celerity, and, from the manner in which those who at
first denied were speedily brought to confession and to revealing the
names of their associates, there was doubtless good ground for the
popular belief that torture was ruthlessly and unsparingly used; in
fact, allusions to it in the final sentence of Guillem Calverie, one of
the victims, leave no doubt on the subject. Abjuration saved them from
the stake, but the sentence of perpetual imprisonment in chains was a
doubtful mercy for those who were sentenced, while a number were kept
interminably in jail awaiting judgment.[77]

The whole country was ripe for revolt. The revival of Philippe’s quarrel
with Boniface soon gave assurance that help might be expected from the
throne; but if this should fail there would be scant hesitation on the
part of desperate men in looking for some other sovereign who would lend
an ear to their complaints. The arrest and trial for treason of the
Bishop of Pamiers, in 1301, shows us what was then the undercurrent of
popular feeling in Languedoc, where the Frenchman was still a hated
stranger, the king a foreign despot, and the people discontented and
ready to shift their allegiance to either England or Aragon whenever
they could see their advantage in it. The fragile tenure with which the
land was still held by the Kings of Paris must be kept in view if we
would understand Philippe’s shifting policy.[78]

The prosecutions of Albi caused general terror, for the victims were
universally thought to be good Catholics, selected for spoliation on
account of their wealth. The conviction was widespread that such
inquisitors as Jean de Faugoux, Guillem de Mulceone, Jean de
Saint-Seine, Jean Galande, Nicholas d’Abbeville, and Foulques de
Saint-Georges had long had no scruple in obtaining, by threats and
torture, such testimony as they might desire against any one whom they
might wish to ruin, and that their records were falsified, and filled
with fictitious entries for that purpose. Some years before, Frère Jean
Martin, a Dominican, had invoked the interposition of Pierre de
Montbrun, Archbishop of Narbonne (died 1286), to put a stop to this
iniquity. Some investigation was made, and the truth of the charges was
established. The dead were found to be the special prey of these
vultures, who had prepared their frauds in advance. Even the fierce
orthodoxy of the Maréchaux de la Foi could not save Gui de Levis of
Mirepoix from this posthumous attack; and, when Gautier de Montbrun,
Bishop of Carcassonne, died, they produced from their records proof that
he had adored heretics and had been hereticated on his death-bed. In
this latter case, fortunately, the archbishop happened to know that one
of the witnesses, Jourdain Ferrolh, had been absent at the time when, by
his alleged testimony, he had seen the act of adoration. Frère Jean
Martin urged the archbishop to destroy all the records and cause the
Dominicans to be deprived of their functions, and the prelate made some
attempt at Rome to effect this, contenting himself meanwhile with
issuing some regulations and sequestrating some of the books. It was
probably during this flurry that the Inquisitors of Carcassonne and
Toulouse, Nicholas d’Abbeville and Pierre de Mulceone, hearing that they
were likely to be convicted of fraud, retired with their records to the
safe retreat of Prouille and busied themselves in making a transcript,
with the compromising entries omitted, which they ingeniously bound in
the covers stripped from the old volumes.[79]

About this time occurred a case which confirms the popular belief in
inquisitorial iniquity, and which had results of vastly greater
importance than its promoters anticipated. When the disappointed
Boniface VIII. swore that he would cause the burning of Aimeric Castel’s
father, he uttered no idle threat. Nicholas d’Abbeville, a fitting
instrument, was at hand, and to him he privately gave the necessary
verbal instructions. Castel Fabri, the father, had been a citizen of
Carcassonne distinguished for piety and benevolence no less than for
wealth. A friend of the Franciscan Order, after duly receiving the
sacraments, he had died, in 1278, in the hands of its friars, six of
whom kept watch in the sick-room until his death, and he had been buried
in the Franciscan cemetery. We have seen in the case of the Count of
Foix how easily all these precautions could be brushed aside, and
Nicholas found no difficulty in discovering or making the evidence he
required.[80] Suddenly, in 1300, the people of Carcassonne were startled
by a notice, read in all the parish churches, summoning those wishing to
defend the memory of Castel Fabri to appear before the Inquisition on a
day named, as the deceased was proved to have been hereticated on his
death-bed. The moment was well chosen, as Aimeric Castel, the son, was
absent. The Franciscans, for whom the accused had doubtless provided
liberally in his will, felt themselves called upon to assume his
defence. Hastily consulting, they determined to send their lector,
Bernard de Liegossi, or Délicieux, to the General Chapter then
assembling at Marseilles, for instructions, as, in the chronic
antagonism between the Mendicants, the matter seemed to be regarded as
an assault on the Order. The wife of Aimeric Castel provided for the
expenses of the journey, and Bernard returned with instructions from the
provincial to defend the memory of the deceased, while Eléazar de
Clermont, the syndic of the convent, was deputed by the Guardian of
Narbonne to co-operate with him. Meanwhile Nicholas had proceeded to
condemnation, and when, July 4, 1300, Bernard and Eléazar presented
themselves to offer the testimony of the friars who had watched the
dying man, Nicholas received them standing, refused to listen to them,
and on their urging their evidence left the room in the most
contemptuous manner. In the afternoon they returned to ask for a
certificate of their offer and its refusal, but found the door of the
Inquisition closed, and could not effect an entrance.

The next step was to take an appeal to the Holy See and ask for
“Apostoli,” but this was no easy matter. So general was the terror
inspired by Nicholas that the doctor of decretals, Jean de Penne, to
whom they applied to draw the paper, refused unless his name should be
kept inviolably secret, and nineteen years afterwards Bernard when on
trial refused to reveal it until compelled to do so. To obtain a notary
to authenticate the appeal was still harder. All those in Carcassonne
absolutely refused, and it was found necessary to bring one from a
distance, so that it was not until July 16 that the document was ready
for service. How seriously, indeed, all parties regarded what should
have been a very simple business is shown by the winding-up of the
appeal, which places, until the case is decided, not only the body of
Castel Fabri, but the appellants and the whole Franciscan convent, under
the protection of the Holy See. When they went to serve the instrument
on Nicholas the doors, as before, were found closed and entrance could
not be effected. It was therefore read in the street and left tacked on
the door, to be taken down and treasured and brought forward in evidence
against Bernard in 1319. We have no further records of the case, but
that the appeal was ineffectual is visible in the fact that in 1322-3
the accounts of Arnaud Assalit show that the royal treasury was still
receiving an income from the confiscated estates of Castel Fabri; while
in 1329 the still unsatisfied vengeance of the Inquisition ordered the
bones of his wife Rixende to be exhumed.[81]

The case of Castel Fabri might have passed unnoticed, like thousands of
others, had it not chanced to bring into collision with the Inquisition
the lector of the convent of Carcassonne. Bernard Délicieux was no
ordinary man, in fact a contemporary assures us that in the whole
Franciscan Order there were few who were his equals. Entering the Order
about 1284, his position of lector or teacher shows the esteem felt for
his learning, for the Mendicants were ever careful in selecting those to
whom they confided such functions; and, moreover, we find him in
relations with the leading minds of the age, such as Raymond Lully and
Arnaldo de Vilanova. His eloquence made him much in request as preacher;
his persuasiveness enabled him to control those with whom he came in
contact, while his enthusiastic ardor prompted him to make any
sacrifices necessary to a cause which had once enlisted his sympathies.
He was no latitudinarian or time-server, for when the split came in his
own Order he embraced, to his ruin, the side of the Spiritual
Franciscans, with the same disregard of self as he had manifested in his
dealings with the Inquisition. He was no admirer of toleration, for he
devoutly wished the extermination of heresy, but experience and
observation had convinced him that in Dominican hands the Inquisition
was merely an instrument of oppression and extortion, and he imagined
that by transferring it to the Franciscans its usefulness would be
preserved while its evils would be removed. Boniface VIII., as we have
seen, about this time replaced the Franciscan inquisitors of Padua and
Vicenza with Dominicans for the purpose of repressing similar evils, and
in the jealousy and antagonism between the two orders the converse
operation might seem worth attempting in Languedoc. In the hope of
alleviating the sufferings of the people, Bernard devoted himself to the
cause for years, incurring obloquy, persecution, and ingratitude. Those
whom he sought to serve allowed him to sell his books in their service,
and to cripple himself with debt, while the enmities which he excited
hounded him relentlessly to the death. Yet in the struggle he had the
sympathies of his own Order which everywhere throughout Languedoc
manifested itself the enemy of the Dominican Inquisition. Already, in
1291, Franciscans in Carcassonne had endeavored to intervene in cases of
heresy, and had been sharply reproved by Philippe le Bel at the instance
of the Inquisitor Guillaume de Saint-Seine. In 1298 they had supported
the appeal of the men of Carcassonne to Boniface VIII., and throughout
the whole of Bernard’s agitation the Franciscan convents are seen to be
rallying-points of the opposition. It is there that Bernard preaches his
fiery sermons; it is there that meetings are held to plan resistance.
During the troubles in Carcassonne Foulques de Saint-Georges went with
twenty-five men to the Franciscan convent to cite the opponents of the
Inquisition. The friars would not admit them, but tolled the bell and an
angry crowd assembled, while those inside the convent assailed them with
stones and quarrels, and they were glad to escape with their lives.[82]

Vainly the inquisitors complained to the Franciscan prelates of Bernard
as an impeder of the Holy Office. The form of a trial would be gone
through, and the offender would be furnished with letters attesting his
innocence. The Dominicans asserted that Franciscan zeal was solely
caused by jealousy; the Franciscans retorted that their friends were the
special objects of inquisitorial persecution. King Philippe’s confessor
was a Dominican, Queen Joanna’s a Franciscan, and the two courtly friars
took part, for and against the Inquisition, with a zeal which rendered
them important factors in the struggle. The undying hostility between
the two Orders always led them to opposite sides in every question of
dogma or practice, and this was one which afforded the amplest scope to

The _coup-de-main_ executed on the so-called heretics of Albi, in
December, 1299, and the early months of 1300, had excited consternation
too general for the matter to be passed over. King Philippe’s quarrel
with Boniface was breaking out afresh, and he might not be averse to
making his subjects feel that they had a protector in the throne. With
the advice of his council an investigation was ordered, and confided to
the Bishops of Béziers and Maguelonne, but the inquisitors arrogantly
and persistently refused to allow the secrets of their office to be
invaded. This was not calculated to remove popular disquiet, and in 1301
Philippe sent to Languedoc two officials armed with supreme powers,
under the name of Reformers. As the royal authority extended and
established itself, special deputies for the investigation and
correction of abuses were frequently despatched to the provinces. In the
present case those who came to Languedoc perhaps had for their chief
business the arrest of the Bishop of Pamiers, accused of treasonable
practices, but the colorable pretext for their mission was the
correction of inquisitorial abuses. One of them, Jean de Pequigny,
Vidame of Amiens, was a man of high character for probity and sagacity;
the other was Richard Nepveu, Archdeacon of Lisieux, of whom we hear
little in the following years, except that he quietly slipped into the
vacant episcopate of Béziers. He must have done his duty to some extent,
however, for Bernard Gui tells us that he died in 1309 of leprosy, as a
judgment of God for his hostility to the Inquisition.[84]

The Reformers established themselves at Toulouse, where Foulques de
Saint-Georges had been inquisitor since Michaelmas, 1300, and speedily
gathered much damaging testimony against him, for he was accused not
only of unduly torturing persons for purposes of extortion, but of
gratifying his lusts by arresting women whose virtue he failed otherwise
to overcome. Thither flocked representatives of Albi, with the wives and
children of the prisoners, beseeching and imploring the representatives
of the king for justice, and promising revelations if they would issue
letters of safety to those who would give information--for the terror
inspired by the Inquisition was such that no one dared to testify
concerning it unless he was assured of protection against its vengeance.
The Bishop of Albi came also to justify himself, and on his return to
his episcopal seat he was welcomed with a manifestation of the feeling
entertained for him by his flock, whom the coming of the Reformers
encouraged in the expression or their sentiments. When his approach was
announced a crowd of men and women rushed forth from the gates to meet
him with shouts of “Death, death, death to the traitor!” It may
perhaps be doubted whether, as reported, he bore the threats and insults
with patience akin to that of Christ, ordering his followers to keep
their weapons down; certain it is that he was roughly handled, and had
difficulty in safely reaching his palace. A conspiracy was formed to
burn the palace, in order, during the confusion, to liberate the
prisoners, but the hearts of the conspirators failed them and the
project was abandoned. Even more menacing was the action of a number of
the chief citizens, who bound themselves by a notarial instrument to
prosecute him and Nicholas d’Abbeville in the king’s court. As a
consequence, the bishop’s temporalities were sequestrated, and
eventually the enormous fine of twenty thousand livres stripped him of a
portion of his ill-gotten gains for the benefit of the king, who was
bitterly reproached by Bernard Délicieux for thus preferring money to
justice. Bernard de Castanet retained his uneasy seat until 1308, when,
seeing under Clement V. no prospect of better times, he procured a
transfer to the quieter see of Puy. One of the earliest signs of the
revulsion under John XXII. was his advancement, in December, 1316, to
the Cardinalate of Porto, which he held for only eight months, his death
occurring in August, 1317.[85]

The Reformers, meanwhile, had sent for Bernard Délicieux, who was then
quietly performing his duties as lector in the convent of Narbonne. He
must already have made himself conspicuous in the affair of Castel
Fabri, and was evidently regarded as a desirable ally in the impending
struggle. According to his own story he advised Pequigny to let the
Inquisition alone, as experience had shown that effort was useless; but
on being called again to Toulouse on some business connected with the
Priory of la Daurade, and having to visit Paris in connection with the
will of Louis, Bishop of Toulouse, it was arranged, at Pequigny’s
suggestion, that he should accompany a deputation which the citizens of
Albi were sending to the king to invoke his active intervention. The
court was at Senlis, whither they repaired, and there came also Pequigny
to justify himself, and Frère Foulques with several Dominicans, eager to
establish the innocence of the Inquisition.[86]

The battle was fought out before the king. Bernard urged the suspension
of the inquisitors during an investigation, or that the Dominicans
should be permanently declared ineligible while awaiting final action by
the Holy See. Supported by Frère Guillaume, the king’s Dominican
confessor, Foulques preferred charges against Pequigny, but could
furnish no proofs. Pequigny retorted with accusations against Foulques,
and a commission, consisting of the Archbishop of Narbonne and the
Constable of France, was appointed to hear both sides. After due
deliberation, it reported in favor of Pequigny, and the king took the
unheard-of step of removing the inquisitor. He at first requested this
of the Dominican Provincial of Paris, who possessed the power to do so,
but that official called together a chapter, which contented itself with
appointing an adjunct, and ordering Foulques to retain office till the
middle of the following Lent, in order to complete the trials which he
had already commenced. This gave Philippe great offence, which he
expressed in the most outspoken terms in letters to his chaplain and to
the Bishop of Toulouse, whom he bitterly reproached for advising
acceptance of the terms. He did not content himself with words, for
simultaneously, December 8, 1301, he wrote to the bishop, the Inquisitor
of Toulouse, and the seneschals of Toulouse and Albi, stating that the
imploring cries of his subjects, including prelates and ecclesiastics,
counts, barons, and other distinguished men, convinced him that Foulques
was guilty of the charges preferred against him, including crimes
abhorrent to the human mind. He afflicted the people with numerous
exactions and oppressions; he was accustomed to commence proceedings
with torture inconceivable and incredible, and thus compel confession
from those whom he suspected, and when this failed he suborned witnesses
to testify falsely. His detestable excesses had created such general
terror that a rising of the people was to be apprehended unless some
speedy remedy was had. Some further unavailing opposition was made to
Foulques’s removal, but not much was gained by the appointment of his
successor, Guillaume de Morières, who had previously succeeded him in
the Priory of Albi. Foulques was gratified with the important Priory of
Avignon, and when he subsequently died in poverty at Lyons he was
regarded by his Order almost in the light of a martyr.[87]

Philippe had not contented himself with getting rid of Foulques, but had
endeavored to introduce reforms which are interesting not only as a
manifestation of the royal supremacy which he assumed, but also as the
model of all subsequent endeavors to curb the abuses of the Inquisition.
It was natural that this should take the shape of reviving the episcopal
power which had become so completely suppressed. Firstly, the prison
which the crown had built on its own land in Toulouse for the use of the
Inquisition was to be placed under the charge of some one selected by
both bishop and inquisitor, and in case of their disagreement by the
royal seneschal. The inquisitor was deprived of the power of arbitrary
arrest. He was obliged to consult the bishop, and when they could not
agree the question was to be decided by a majority vote in an assemblage
consisting of certain officials of the cathedral and of the Franciscan
and Dominican convents. Arrests were only to be made by the seneschal,
after these preliminaries had been observed, except in case of foreign
heretics who might escape. The question of bail was to be settled in the
same way as that of arrest. In no case was either bishop or inquisitor
entitled to obedience when acting individually, for, as the king
declared, “We cannot endure that the life and death of our subjects
shall be abandoned to the discretion of a single individual, who, even
if not actuated by cupidity, may be insufficiently informed.”
Inadequate as these reforms eventually proved, they had an excellent
temporary effect. For a time the Inquisition was paralyzed, and arrests
which had been taking place every week were suddenly brought to an end,
for during 1302 these provisions were embodied in a general Ordonnance,
and the legislation of 1293 protecting the Jews was repeated. At the
same time Philippe was careful to manifest due solicitude for the
suppression of heresy, for he published anew the severe edict of St.
Louis; and on the appointment of Guillaume de Morières to the
Inquisition of Toulouse he wrote to the seneschal instructing him to
place the royal prisons at the inquisitor’s disposal, to pay him the
customary stipend, and to aid him in every way until further orders.[88]

While the new regulations may have promised relief elsewhere, they gave
little comfort at Albi, the inquisitorial proceedings of whose bishop
had given rise to the whole disturbance. Its citizens were still
languishing in the prison of the Inquisition of Carcassonne, and a
numerous deputation of both sexes was sent to the king, accompanied by
two Franciscans, Jean Hector and Bertrand de Villedelle. Again Bernard
Délicieux was present, having this time been opportunely chosen to
represent the Order on a summons from Philippe for consultation on the
subject of his quarrel with Pope Boniface. They all followed the king to
Pierrefonds and then to Compiègne. He gave them fair words, promised a
speedy visit to Languedoc, when he would settle matters, and consoled
them with a donation of one thousand livres, which he could well afford
to do, for the confiscated estates of the prisoners were in his hands,
and were never released.[89]

All this, of course, gave little satisfaction; nor were the people
placated by the removal of Nicholas d’Abbeville, for he was succeeded in
the Inquisition of Carcassonne by Geoffroi d’Ablis, who was as
energetic and unsparing as his predecessor, and who brought royal
letters, dated January 1, 1303, ordering all officials to render him the
customary obedience. Popular excitement grew more and more threatening,
and as Albi had no local inquisitors of its own, being within the
jurisdiction of the tribunal of Carcassonne, the discontent vented
itself on the Dominicans, who were regarded as the representatives of
the hated tribunal. On the first Sunday in Advent, December 2, 1302,
when the friars went as usual to preach in the churches they were
violently ejected and assailed with cries of “Death to the traitors!”
and deemed themselves at length fortunate in being able to regain their
convent. This state of things continued for several years, during which
they scarce dared to show themselves in the streets, and were never
secure from insult. All alms and burial-fees were withdrawn, and the
people refused even to attend mass in their church. The names of Dominic
and Peter Martyr were erased from the crucifix at the principal gate of
the town, and were replaced with those of Pequigny and Nepveu, and of
two citizens who were leaders in the disturbances--Arnaud Garsia and
Pierre Probi of Castres.[90]

The prisoners of Albi were still as far as ever from liberation, and
Bernard Délicieux urged Pequigny to come to Carcassonne and consider
their case on the spot. In the summer of 1303 he did so, and was met by
a large number of the people of Albi, men and women, praying him to
liberate them. While he was investigating the subject he came upon the
instrument of pacification between Nicholas d’Abbeville and the consuls
of Carcassonne in 1299. This was communicated to the people by Frère
Bernard in a fiery sermon, and a knowledge of its conditions aroused
them almost to frenzy. Riots ensued in which the houses of some of the
old consuls and of those who were regarded as friends of the Inquisition
were destroyed; the Dominican church was assailed, its windows broken,
the statues in its porch overthrown, and the friars maltreated. To
violate the prisons of the Inquisition was so serious a matter that
Pequigny seems to have wished the backing of an enraged populace before
he would venture on the step: and when he resolved upon it he
anticipated resistance so confidently that with his privity Bernard
assembled fourscore men, with skilled mechanics, in the Franciscan
convent, ready to break open the jails in case of necessity. Their
services were not needed. Geoffroi d’Ablis yielded, and in August, 1303,
Pequigny removed the prisoners of Albi. He did not discharge them,
however, but merely transferred them to the royal prisons, and refused
to carry them to the king as Bernard advised. Possibly their treatment
for a while may have been gentler, but they derived no permanent
advantage from the movement. The grasp of the Inquisition was
unrelaxing. It obtained possession of them again, and we shall see that
it held them to the last.[91]

Meanwhile advantage was taken of the access obtained to them to procure
from them statements of the tortures which they had endured, and lists
were made of the names of those whom they had been forced to accuse as
heretics. These were circulated throughout the land and excited general
alarm, the Franciscans being especially active in giving them publicity.
On the other hand, the inquisitor Geoffroi d’Ablis was equal to the
emergency. He cited Pequigny to appear and stand trial for impeding the
Inquisition, and on his refusal excommunicated him, September 29; and as
soon as word could be carried to Paris he was published as excommunicate
by the Dominicans there. This audacious act brought all parties to a
sense of the nature of the conflict which had sprung up between Church
and State. The consuls and people of Albi addressed to the queen an
earnest petition beseeching her to prevail upon the king not to abandon
them by withdrawing the Reformers, who had already done so much good and
on whom depended their last hope. A fruitless effort also was made to
prevent the publication of the excommunication. At Castres, October 13,
Jean Ricoles, stipendiary priest of the Church of St. Mary, published it
from the pulpit, as he was bound to do, and was promptly arrested by the
deputy of the royal viguier of Albi and carried to the Franciscan
convent, where he was threatened and maltreated, and the friars used
every effort to persuade him to withdraw it. This in itself was a grave
violation of clerical immunity, and it was soon recognized that such
proceedings were worse than useless. Pequigny’s authority was paralyzed
until the excommunication should be removed, and this could only be done
by the man who had uttered it, or by the pope himself.[92]

The prospect of relief was darkened by the election, October 21, of
Benedict XI., himself a Dominican and necessarily pre-disposed in favor
of the Inquisition. Special exertions evidently were required unless all
that had been gained was to be lost, and, at the best, litigation in the
Roman court was a costly business. Pequigny had appealed to the pope,
and, October 29, he wrote from Paris to the cities of Languedoc asking
for their aid in the persecution which he had brought upon himself in
their cause. Bernard Délicieux promptly busied himself to obtain the
required assistance. By his exertions the three cities of Carcassonne,
Albi, and Cordes entered into an alliance and pledged themselves to
furnish the sum of three thousand livres, one half by Carcassonne and
the rest by the other two, and to continue in the same proportions as
long as the affair should last. After Pequigny’s death they renewed
their obligation to his oldest son Renaud; but as the matter was much
protracted, they grew tired, and Bernard, who had raised some of the
money on his own responsibility, was left with heavy obligations, of
which he vainly sought restitution at the hands of the ungrateful

The quarrel was thus for a time transferred to Rome. Pequigny went to
Italy with envoys from the king and from Carcassonne and Albi to plead
his cause, and was opposed by Guillaume de Morières, the Inquisitor of
Toulouse, sent thither to manage the case against him. Benedict was not
slow in showing on which side his sympathies lay. At Perugia, while the
pope was conducting the solemnities of Pentecost, May 17, 1304, Pequigny
ventured to enter the church. Benedict saw him, and, pointing to him,
said to his marshal, P. de Brayda, “Turn out that Patarin!” an order
which the marshal zealously obeyed. The significance of the incident was
not small, and after the death of both Benedict and Pequigny, Geoffroi
d’Ablis caused a notarial instrument recounting it to be drawn up and
duly authenticated as one of the documents of the process. The climate
of Italy was very unhealthy for Transmontanes. Morières died at Perugia,
and Pequigny followed him at Abruzzo, September 29, 1304, the
anniversary of his excommunication. Having remained for a year under the
ban for impeding the Inquisition, he was legally a heretic, and his
burial in consecrated ground is only to be explained by the death of
Benedict a short time before. Geoffroi d’Ablis demanded that his bones
be exhumed and burned, while Pequigny’s sons carried on the appeal for
the rehabilitation of his memory. The matter dragged on till Clement V.
referred it to a commission of three cardinals. These gave a patient
hearing to both sides, who argued the matter exhaustively, and submitted
all the necessary documents and papers. At last, July 23, 1308, they
rendered their decision to the effect that the sentence of
excommunication had been unjust and iniquitous, and that its revocation
should be published in all places where it had been announced. Geoffroi
fruitlessly endeavored to appeal from this, which was the most complete
justification possible of all that had been said and done against the
Inquisition, emphasized by Clement’s cutting refusal to listen to his
statements--“It is false: the land never wished to rebel, but was in
evil case in consequence of the doings of the Inquisition,” while a
cardinal told him that for fifty years the people had been goaded to
resistance by the excesses of his predecessors, and that when a
corrective was applied they only added evil to evil.[94]

Benedict XI. had given other proofs of partisanship. It is true that in
answer to the complaints of the oppressed people he appointed a
commission of cardinals to investigate the matter, but there is no trace
of their labors, which were probably cut short by his death, July 7,
1304. No commissioners of his selection would have been likely to report
adversely to the Inquisition, for he manifested his prejudgment by
ordering the Minister of Aquitaine, under pain of forfeiture of office
and future disability, to arrest Frère Bernard without warning and send
him under sufficient guard to the papal court, as a fautor of heretics
and presumably a heretic. The leading citizens of Albi, including G. de
Pesenches the viguier and Gaillard Étienne the royal judge, who had
sought to aid Pequigny, were also involved in the papal condemnation.
The Minister of Aquitaine intrusted to Frère Jean Rigaud the execution
of the arrest, which he duly performed, June, 1304, in the convent of
Carcassonne, adding an excommunication when Bernard, encouraged by the
active sympathy of the people, delayed in obeying the papal summons. He
never went, and it is a curious illustration of Franciscan tendencies to
see that the minister absolved him from the excommunication, and that
the provincial chapter of his Order at Albi decided that he had done all
that was requisite, though perhaps Benedict’s death in July had relieved
them from fears as to the immediate consequences of their contumacy.[95]

Meanwhile Philippe le Bel had at last fulfilled his promise to visit in
person his southern provinces and rectify on the spot the wrongs of
which his subjects had so long complained. He was expecting a favorable
termination to his negotiation with Benedict for the removal of the
excommunications launched by Boniface VIII. against himself and his
subjects and chief agents, a result which he obtained May 13, 1304, with
exception of the censure inflicted on Guillaume de Nogaret and Sciarra
Colonna. When, therefore, he reached Toulouse on Christmas Day, 1303, he
was not disposed to excite unnecessarily Benedict’s prejudices. From
Albi and Carcassonne multitudes flocked to him with cries for redress
and protection, and Pequigny spoke eloquently in their behalf. The
inquisitors were represented by Guillem Pierre, the Dominican
provincial, while Bernard Délicieux was foremost in the debate. It was
on this occasion that he made his celebrated assertion that St. Peter
and St. Paul would be convicted of heresy if tried with inquisitorial
methods, and when the scandalized Bishop of Auxerre tartly reproved him,
he stoutly maintained the truth of what he had said. Friar Nicholas, the
king’s Dominican confessor, was suspected of exercising undue influence
in favor of the Inquisition, and Bernard endeavored to discredit him by
accusing him of betraying to the Flemings all the secrets of the royal
council. Geoffroi d’Ablis, the Inquisitor of Carcassonne, moreover, was
ingratiating himself with Philippe at the moment by skilful negotiations
to bring about a reconciliation with Rome.[96]

Philippe patiently heard both sides, and recorded his conclusions in an
edict of January 13, 1304, which was in the nature of a compromise. It
recited that the king had come to Languedoc for the purpose of pacifying
the country excited by the action of the Inquisition, and had had
prolonged consultation on the subject with all who were entitled to
express an opinion. The result thus reached was that the prisoners of
the Inquisition should be visited by royal deputies in company with
inquisitors; the prisons were to be safe, but not punitive. In the case
of prisoners not yet sentenced the trials were to be carried to
conclusion under the conjoined supervision of the bishops and
inquisitors, and this co-operation was to be observed in the future,
except at Albi, where the bishop, being suspected, was to be replaced by
Arnaud Novelli, the Cistercian Abbot of Fontfroide. The royal officials
were strictly ordered to aid in every way the inquisitors and episcopal
ordinaries when called upon, and to protect from injury and violence the
Dominicans, their churches and houses.[97]

At Albi the change had the wished-for effect. No more heretics were
found and no further prosecutions were required. Yet the refusal of the
king to entertain any project of reform other than his previous one of
curbing the Inquisition with an illusory episcopal supervision was a
grievous disappointment. Men naturally argued that if the Dominicans had
done right they ought not to be insulted by the proposed episcopal
co-operation; and if they had done wrong they ought to be replaced. If
any change was called for, the projected one was insufficient. So many
hopes had been built upon the royal presence in the land, that the
result caused universal dismay, which was not relieved by Philippe’s
subsequent action. When he visited Carcassonne he was urged to see the
unfortunate captives whose persecution had been the prominent cause of
the troubles, but he refused, and sent his brother Louis to look at
them. Worse than all, the citizens had designed to propitiate him and
demonstrate their loyalty by offering him some elaborate silver vessels.
These were yet in the hands of the gold-smiths of Montpellier when the
royal party came to Carcassonne, so they were sent after him to Béziers,
where the presentation was made, a portion to him and the rest to the
queen. She accepted the offering, but he not only rejected it, but, when
he learned what the queen had done, forced her to return the present.
This threw the consuls of Carcassonne into despair. Offerings of this
kind from municipalities to the sovereign were so customary and their
gracious acceptance so much a matter of course, that refusal in this
instance seemed to argue some most unfavorable intentions on the part of
the king, which was not unlikely, seeing that Elias Patrice, the leading
citizen of Carcassonne, had plainly told him when there that if he did
not render them speedy justice against the Inquisition they would be
forced to seek another lord, and when Philippe ordered him from his
presence the citizens obeyed Patrice’s command to remove the decorations
from the streets. Imagining that he had been won over by the Dominicans
and that his protection would be withdrawn, the prospect of being
abandoned to the mercy of the Inquisition seemed so terrible that they
wildly declared that if they could not find another lord to protect them
they would burn the town and with the inhabitants seek some place of
refuge. In consultation with Frère Bernard it was hastily determined to
offer their allegiance to Ferrand, son of the King of Majorca.

The younger branch of the House of Aragon, which drew its title from the
Balearic Isles, held the remnants of the old French possessions of the
Catalans, including Montpellier and Perpignan. It had old claims to
much of the land, and its rule might well be hailed by the people as
much more welcome than the foreign domination to which they had been
unwillingly subjected. Had the whole region agreed to transfer its
allegiance, its reduction might have cost Philippe a doubtful struggle,
embarrassed as he was with the chronic disaffection of the Flemings.
When, however, the project was broached to the men of Albi, they refused
peremptorily to embark in it, and there can be no stronger proof of the
desperation of the Carcassais than their resolution to persist in it
single-handed. Ferrand and his father were at Montpellier entertaining
the French court, which they accompanied to Nîmes. He eagerly listened
to the overtures, and asked Frère Bernard to come to him at Perpignan.
Bernard went thither with a letter of credence from the consuls, which
he prudently destroyed on the road. The King of Majorca, when he heard
of the offer, chastened his son’s ambition by boxing his ears and
pulling him around by the hair, and he ingratiated himself with his
powerful neighbor by communicating the plot to Philippe.[98]

Although there could have been no real danger from so crazy a project,
the relation of the southern provinces to the crown were too strained
for the king not to exact a vengeance which should prove a warning. A
court was assembled at Carcassonne which sat through the summer of 1305
and made free use of torture in its investigations. Albi, which had
taken no part in the plot, escaped an investigation by a bribe of one
thousand livres to the seneschal, Jean d’Alnet, but the damage inflicted
on the Franciscan convent shows that the Dominicans were keen to make
reprisals for what they had suffered. The town of Limoux had been
concerned in the affair; it was fined and disfranchised, and forty of
its citizens were hanged. As for Carcassonne, all of its eight consuls,
with Elias Patrice at their head, and seven other citizens were hanged
in their official robes, the city was deprived of self-government and
subjected to the enormous fine of sixty thousand livres, a sentence from
which it vainly appealed to the Parlement. As Bernard Gui observes with
savage exultation, those who had croaked like ravens against the
Dominicans were exposed to the ravens. Aimeric Castel, who had sought in
this way to obtain redress for the wrong done to his father’s memory and
estate, escaped by flight, but was captured and long lay a prisoner,
finally making his peace with a heavy ransom, and a harvest of fines was
gathered into the royal exchequer from all who could be accused of
privity. As for Frère Bernard, he received early intelligence from Frère
Durand, the queen’s confessor, of the discovery of the plot, when he
boldly headed a delegation of citizens of Albi who went to Paris to
protest their innocence. There Durand informed them that Albi was not
implicated, when they returned, leaving Bernard. At the request of the
king, Clement V. had him arrested and carried to Lyons, whence he was
taken by the papal court to Bordeaux; and when it went to Poitiers he
was confined in the convent of St. Junian of Limoges. In May, 1307, at
the instance of Clement, Philippe issued letters of amnesty to all
concerned, and remitted to Carcassonne the portion of its fine not yet
paid, and in Lent, 1308, Bernard was allowed to come to Poitiers. On the
king’s arrival there he boldly complained to him of his arrest and of
the punishment which had involved the innocent with the guilty. As he
still had no license to leave the papal court, he accompanied it to
Avignon, and was at length discharged with the royal assent--the heavy
bribes paid to three cardinals by his friends of Albi having perhaps
something to do with his immunity. He returned to Toulouse, and we hear
of no further activity on his part. His narrow escape probably sobered
his restless enthusiasm, and as the reform of the Inquisition seemed to
have been taken resolutely in hand by Clement V. he might well persuade
himself that there was no further call for self-sacrifice.[99]

The death of Benedict XI., in July, 1304, had given fresh hopes to the
sufferers from the Inquisition. There was an interregnum of nearly a
year before the election of his successor, Clement V., June 5, 1305.
During this period a petition to the College of Cardinals was presented
by seventeen of the religious bodies of the Albigeois, including the
canons of the cathedral of Albi, those of the church of St. Salvi, the
convent of Gaillac, etc., imploring in the most pressing terms the
Sacred College to intervene and avert the fearful dangers threatening
the community. The land, they declare, is Catholic, the people are
faithful, cherishing the religion of Rome in their hearts, and
professing it with their lips. Yet so fierce are the dissensions between
them and the inquisitors, that they are aroused to wrath and are eager
to put to the sword those whom they have learned to regard as enemies.
Doubtless the inquisitors had taken advantage of the revulsion
consequent upon the fruitless treason of Carcassonne and of the altered
attitude of the king. Philippe thenceforth interfered no further, save
to urge his representatives to renewed vigilance in enforcing the laws
against heretics and the disabilities inflicted upon their descendants.
It was not only the treason of Carcassonne which indisposed him to
interfere; from 1307 onward he needed the indispensable aid of the
Inquisition to carry out his designs against the Templars, and he could
afford neither to antagonize it nor to limit its powers.[100]

The Sacred College, monopolized by electioneering intrigues, paid no
heed to the imploring prayer of the Albigensian clergy, but when the
year’s turmoil was ended by the triumph of the French party in the
election of Clement V. the hopes raised by the death of his predecessor
might reasonably seem destined to fruition. Bertrand de Goth,
Cardinal-Archbishop of Bordeaux, was a Gascon by birth, and, though an
English subject, was doubtless more familiar than the Italians with the
miseries and needs of Languedoc. His transfer of the papacy to French
soil was also of good augury. Hardly had the news of his election
reached Albi, when Frère Bernard was busy in organizing a mission to
represent to him in the name of the city the necessity of relief, and
when he visited Toulouse the wives of the prisoners, still languishing
in confinement, were taken thither to make their woes emphatically
known. Hardly had he been consecrated at Lyons when these complaints
poured in and were substantiated by two Dominicans, Bertrand Blanc and
François Aimeric, who were as emphatic as the representatives of Albi in
their denunciations of inquisitorial methods and abuses. Geoffroi
d’Ablis hurried thither from Carcassonne to defend himself in such haste
that he left no one to take his place, and was obliged to send from
Lyons, September 29, 1305, a commission to Jean de Faugoux and Gerald de
Blumac to act in his stead. In this paper his fiery fanaticism breathes
forth in his denunciations of the horrid beasts, the cruel beasts, who
are ravaging the vineyard of the Lord, and who are to be tracked to
their dens and extirpated with unsparing rigor.[101]

His efforts to justify the Inquisition were unavailing, more especially,
perhaps, because the people of Albi bribed Cardinal Raymond de Goth, the
pope’s nephew, with two thousand livres Tournois, the Cardinal of Santa
Croce with as much, and the Cardinal Pier Colonna with five hundred.
March 13, 1306, Clement commissioned two cardinals, Pierre of San Vitale
(afterwards of Palestrina) and Berenger of SS. Nereo and Achille
(afterwards of Frascati), who were about to pass through Languedoc on a
mission, to investigate and make such temporary changes as they should
find necessary. The people of Carcassonne, Albi, and Cordes had offered
to prove that good Catholics were forced to confess heresy through the
stress of torture and the horrors of the prisons, and further that the
records of the Inquisition were altered and falsified. Until the
investigation was completed, the inquisitors were not to consign to
strict prison or to inflict torture on any one except in conjunction
with the diocesan, and in the place of the Bishop of Albi the Abbot of
Fontfroide was subrogated.

On April 16, 1306, the cardinals held a public session at Carcassonne in
presence of all the notables of the place. The consuls of Carcassonne
and the delegates of Albi preferred their complaints and were supported
by the two Dominicans, Blanc and Aimeric, who had appeared before the
pope. On the other hand, Geoffroi d’Ablis and the deputy of the Bishop
of Albi defended themselves and complained of the popular riots and the
ill-treatment to which they had been exposed. After hearing both sides
the cardinals adjourned further proceedings until January 25, at
Bordeaux, where Carcassonne, Albi, and Cordes were each to send four
procurators to conduct the matter. As this office was a most dangerous
one, the cardinals gave security to them against the Inquisition during
the performance of their duty. This was no idle precaution, and Aimeric
Castel, one of the representatives of Carcassonne, found himself in such
danger that in September, 1308, he was obliged to procure from Clement a
special bull forbidding the inquisitors to assail him until the
termination of the affair. Even greater danger impended over any
witnesses called upon to prove the falsification of records, as they
were bound to silence under oaths which exposed them to the stake as
relapsed heretics in case they revealed their evidence, and the
cardinals were asked to absolve them from these oaths.[102]

If there were any further formal proceedings in this matter, which thus
assumed the shape of a litigation between the people and the
Inquisition, they have not reached us. Yet the cardinals, before
continuing their journey, took some steps which showed that they were
convinced of the truth of the accusations. They visited the prison of
Carcassonne, and caused the prisoners, forty in number, of whom three
were women, to be brought before them. Some of these were sick, others
worn with age, and all tearfully complaining of the horrors of their
lot, the insufficiency of food and bedding, and the cruelty of their
keepers. The cardinals were moved to dismiss all the jailers and
attendants except the chief, and to put the prison under the control of
the Bishop of Carcassonne. It is significant that the oath imposed on
the new officials bound them never to speak to a prisoner except in the
presence of an associate, and not to steal any of the food destined for
those under their charge. One of the cardinals visited the prison of the
Bishop of Albi, where he found the jailers well spoken of, but was
shocked with the condition of the prisoners. Many of them were in chains
and all in narrow, dark cells, where some of them had been confined for
five years or more without being yet condemned. He ordered all chains
removed, that light should be introduced in the cells, and that new and
less inhuman ones should be built within a month. As regards general
amelioration in inquisitorial proceedings, the only regulation which
they issued was a confirmation of Philippe’s expedient, requiring the
co-operation of the diocesan with the inquisitor, and this was withdrawn
by Clement, August 12, 1308, in an apologetic bull declaring that the
cardinals had exceeded his intentions.[103]

The existence of the evils complained of was thus admitted, but the
Church shrank from applying a remedy, and, after the struggle of years,
relief was as illusory as ever. Even with regard to the crying and
inexcusable abuse of the detention of prisoners in these fearful
dungeons for long years without conviction or sentence, Clement found
himself powerless to effect reform in the most flagrant cases. The
inquisitors had in their archives a bull of Innocent IV. authorizing
them to defer indefinitely passing sentence when they deemed that delay
was in the interest of the faith, and of this they took full advantage.
Of the captives seized by the Bishop of Albi in 1299, many were still
unsentenced when the Cardinal of San Vitale examined his prisons. This
visit passed away without result. Five years afterwards, in 1310,
Clement wrote to the Bishop of Albi and Geoffroi d’Ablis that the
citizens of Albi, whom he names, had repeatedly appealed to him, after
more than eight years of imprisonment, to have their trials completed
either to condemnation or absolution. He therefore orders the trials
proceeded with at once and the results submitted for confirmation to the
Cardinals of Palestrina and Frascati, his former commissioners. Bertrand
de Bordes, Bishop of Albi, and Geoffroi d’Ablis contemptuously
disregarded this command, because some of the prisoners named in it had
died before its date, whence they argued that the papal letter had been
surreptitiously obtained. When this contumacy reached the ears of
Clement, some year or two later, he wrote to Geraud, then Bishop of
Albi, and Geoffroi, peremptorily reiterating his commands and ordering
them to try both living and dead. In spite of this, Geoffroi maintained
his sullen contumacy. We have no means of knowing the fate of most of
these unfortunates, who probably rotted to death in their dungeons
without their trials being concluded; but of some of them we have
traces, as related in a former chapter. After Clement and his cardinals
had passed away, and no further interference was to be dreaded, in 1319
two surviving ones, Guillem Salavert and Isarn Colli, were brought out
for further examination, when the former confirmed his confession and
the latter retracted it as extorted under torture. Six months later,
Guillem Calverie of Cordes, who had been imprisoned in 1301, was
abandoned to the secular arm for retracting his confession (probably
before Clement’s cardinals), and Guillem Salavert was allowed to escape
with wearing crosses, in consideration of his nineteen years’
imprisonment without conviction. Even as late as 1328 attested copies
made by order of the royal judge of Carcassonne, of inventories of
personal property of Raymond Calverie and Jean Baudier, two of the
prisoners of 1299-1300, show that their cases were still the subject of
litigation. Even more remarkable as a manifestation of contumacy is the
case of Guillem Garric, held in prison for complicity in the attempt to
destroy the records at Carcassonne in 1284. Royal letters of 1312 recite
that his merits and piety had caused Clement V. to grant him full
pardon, wherefore the king restores to him and his descendants his
confiscated castle of Monteirat. Yet the Inquisition did not relax its
grip, but waited until 1321, when he was brought forth from prison, and
in consideration of his contrition Bernard Gui mercifully sentenced the
old man to perpetual banishment from France within thirty days.[104]

Another endeavor was made by Clement to repress the abuses of the
Inquisition by transferring from its jurisdiction to that of the bishops
the Jews of the provinces of Toulouse and Narbonne on account of the
undue molestation to which they were continually subjected. This
transfer even included cases then pending, but after Clement’s death a
bull was produced in which he annulled the previous one and restored the
jurisdiction of the Inquisition.[105]

The outcome of all this struggle and investigation is to be found in the
measures of reform adopted in 1312 by the Council of Vienne at Clement’s
instance. The five books of canon law known as the “Clementines,”
which were enacted by the council, were retained for revision by
Clement, who was on the point of publishing them when he died, April 20,
1314. They were held in suspense during the long interregnum which
followed, and were not authoritatively given to the world until October
25, 1317, by John XXII. The canons relating to the Inquisition have been
alluded to above, and it will be remembered that they only restricted
the power of the inquisitor by requiring episcopal concurrence in the
use of torture, or of harsh confinement equivalent to torture, and in
the custody of prisons. There was a _brutum fulmen_ of excommunication
denounced against those who should abuse their power for purposes of
hate, affection, or extortion, and the importance of the whole lies far
less in the remedies it proposes than in its emphatic testimony of the
existence of cruelty and corruption in every detail of inquisitorial
practice. Bernard Gui vainly raised his voice in an earnest and
elaborate protest against the publication of the new rules, and after
their promulgation he did not hesitate openly to tell his brethren that
they required to be modified or rather wholly suspended by the Holy See,
but his expostulations were totally uncalled for. The closest
examination of inquisitorial methods before and after the publication of
the Clementines fails to reveal any influence exercised by them for good
or for evil. No trace of any practical effort for their enforcement is
to be found, and inquisitors went on, as was their wont, in the
arbitrary fashion for which their office gave them such unlimited

One case may indeed be cited to show a special relaxation of the
procedure against heretics. Philippe’s hatred of Boniface VIII. was
undying, and could not be quenched even by the miserable end of his
enemy. Yet the one thing which he failed to wring from his tool in the
papal chair was the condemnation of the memory of Boniface as a heretic.
After repeated efforts he compelled Clement to take testimony on the
subject, and a cloud of witnesses were produced who swore with minute
detail to the unbelief of the late pope in the immortality of the soul,
and in all the doctrines of the incarnation and the atonement, and to
his worship of demons, to his cynical and unnatural lasciviousness, and
to the common fame which existed in the community as to his evil beliefs
and habits. The witnesses were reputable churchmen for the most part,
and their evidence was precise. A tithe of such testimony would have
sufficed to burn the bones and disinherit the heirs of a score of
ordinary culprits, but for once the recognized rules of procedure were
set aside. Philippe was forced to desist from the pursuit, though
Clement in his final bull of April 27, 1311, declared that the king and
his witnesses had been actuated solely by zeal for the Church, and the
affair fell through. The pretensions put forth by Boniface in his
offensive decretals were formally withdrawn, and Guillaume de Nogaret
obtained his long-withheld absolution.[107]

Clement died at Carpentras April 20, 1314, carrying with him the shame
and guilt of the ruin of the Templars, and was followed in about seven
months (November 29) by his tempter and accomplice, Philippe le Bel. The
cardinals on whom devolved the choice of a successor to St. Peter were
torn with dissensions. The Italians demanded that the election should be
held in the Eternal City. The French, or Gascons, as they were called,
insisted on the observance of the rule that the selection should be made
on the spot where the last pontiff had expired, knowing that in Italy
they would be exposed to the same insults and annoyances as were
inflicted in France on their Italian brethren. Shut up in the episcopal
palace of Carpentras, the conclave awaited in vain the inspiration of
the Holy Ghost, even though those outside tried the gentle expedient of
cutting off the food of the members and pillaging their houses. The
situation grew so insupportable that, as a last desperate resort, on
July 23, 1314, the Gascon faction, under the lead of Clement’s nephews,
set fire to the palace and threatened the Italians with death, so that
the latter were glad to escape with their lives by breaking a passage
through the rear wall. Two years passed away without the election of a
visible head of the Church, and the faithful might well fear that they
had seen the last of the popes. The French court, however, had found
itself so well abetted by a French pope that its policy required the
chair of St. Peter to be filled, and in 1316 Louis Hutin sent his
brother, Philippe le Long, then Count of Poitiers, to Lyons with orders
to get the cardinals together. To accomplish this Philippe was obliged
to swear that he would neither do them violence nor imprison them, and
they, having thus secured their independence, were no more disposed to
accord than before. For six months the business thus lagged without
prospect of result, when Philippe received the news of the sudden death
of his brother, and that the widowed queen claimed to be pregnant. The
prospect of a vacant throne, or at least of a regency, awaiting him in
Paris rendered further dallying in Lyons insupportable, nor could he
well depart without bringing his errand to a successful issue. Hastily
counselling with his lawyers, it was discovered that his oath was
unlawful and therefore not to be observed. Consequently he invited the
reverend fathers to a colloquy in the Dominican convent, and when they
were thus safely hived he sternly told them that they should not depart
till they had chosen a pope. His guards blocked every entrance, and he
hastened off to Paris, leaving them to deliberate in captivity. Thus
entrapped they made a merit of necessity, though forty days were still
required before they proclaimed Jacques d’Ozo, Cardinal of Porto, as the
Vicar of Christ--the Italians having been won over by his oath that he
would never mount a horse or mule except to go to Rome. This oath he
kept during his whole pontificate of eighteen years, for he slipped down
the Rhone to Avignon by boat, ascended on foot to the palace, and never
left it except to visit the cathedral which adjoined it. Such a process
of selection was not likely to result in the evolution of a saint, and
John XXII. was its natural exponent. His distinguished learning and
vigorous abilities had elevated him from the humblest origin, while his
boundless ambition and imperious temper provoked endless quarrels from
which his daring spirit never shrank.[108]

With his election the troubles of the Inquisition of Languedoc were
over. Though he published the Clementines, he soon let it be seen that
the inquisitors had nothing to fear from him, and they made haste to pay
off the accumulated scores of vengeance. The first victim was Bernard
Délicieux. During the pontificate of Clement and the interregnum he had
lived in peace, and might well imagine that his enthusiasm for the
people of Languedoc had been forgotten. His earnest nature had led him
to join the section of his order known as the Spirituals, and he had
been prominent in the movements by which, during the vacancy of the
Holy See, they had gained possession of the convents of Béziers and
Narbonne. One of the first cares of John XXII. was to heal this schism
in the Order, and he promptly summoned before him the friars of Béziers
and Narbonne. Bernard had not hesitated in signing an appeal to the
pope, and he now boldly came before him at the head of his brethren.
When he undertook to argue their cause he was accused of having impeded
the Inquisition and was promptly arrested. Besides the charge of
impeding the Inquisition, others of encompassing by magic arts the death
of Benedict XI., and of treason in the affair of Carcassonne, were
brought against him. A papal commission was formed to investigate these
matters, and for more than two years he was held in close prison while
the examination went slowly on. At length it was ready for trial, and
September 3, 1319, a court was convened at Castelnaudari consisting of
the Archbishop of Toulouse and the Bishops of Pamiers and St. Papoul,
when the archbishop excused himself and left the matter in the hands of
his associates, who transferred the court to Carcassonne, September 12.
The importance attached to the trial is shown by the fact that at it the
Inquisition was represented by the inquisitor Jean de Beaune, and the
king by his Seneschal of Carcassonne and Toulouse and his “Reformers,”
Raoul, Bishop of Laon, and Jean, Count of Forez.[109]

The official report of the trial has been preserved in all its immense
prolixity, and there are few documents of that age more instructive as
to what was then regarded as justice. Some of Bernard’s old accomplices,
such as Arnaud Garsia, Guillem Fransa, Pierre Probi, and others, who had
already been seized by the Inquisition, were brought forward to be tried
with him and were used as witnesses to save their own lives by swearing
his away. The old man, worn with two years of imprisonment and constant
examination, was subjected for two months to the sharpest
cross-questioning on occurrences dating from twelve to eighteen years
previous, the subjects of the multiform charges being ingeniously
intermingled in the most confusing manner. Under pretext of seeking the
salvation of his soul he was solemnly and repeatedly admonished that he
was legally a heretic for remaining for more than a year under the _ipso
facto_ excommunication incurred by impeding the Inquisition, and that
nothing could save him from the stake but absolute submission and full
confession. Twice he was tortured, the first time, October 3, on the
charge of treason, and the second, November 20, on that of necromancy;
and though the torture was ordered to be “moderate,” the notaries who
assisted at it are careful to report that the shrieks of the victim
attested its sufficiency. In neither case was anything extracted from
him, but the efficacy of the combined pressure thus brought to bear on a
man weakened by age and suffering is shown by the manner in which he was
brought day by day to contradict and criminate himself, until at last he
threw himself on the mercy of the court, and humbly begged for

In the sentence, rendered December 8, he was acquitted of attempting the
life of Benedict XI., while on the other charges his guilt was
aggravated by no less than seventy perjuries committed under
examination. After abjuration, he was duly absolved and condemned to
degradation from holy orders and imprisonment for life, in chains and on
bread and water, in the inquisitorial prison of Carcassonne. Considering
the amnesty proclaimed in 1307 by Philippe le Bel, and the discharge of
Frère Bernard in 1308, it seems strange that now the representatives of
Philippe le Long at once protested against the sentence as too mild, and
appealed to the pope. The judges themselves did not think so, for in
delivering the prisoner to Jean de Beaune they humanely ordered that in
view of his age and debility, and especially the weakness of his hands
(doubtless crippled in the torture-chamber), the penance of chains and
bread and water should be omitted. Jean de Beaune may be pardoned if he
felt a fierce exultation when the ancient enemy of his office was thus
placed in his hands to expiate the offence which had so harassed his
predecessors; and that exultation was perhaps increased when, February
26, 1320, the relentless pope, possibly to gratify the king,
countermanded the pitying order of the bishops, and required the
sentence to be executed in all its terrible rigor. Under these hardships
the frail body which had been animated by so dauntless a spirit soon
gave way, and in a few months merciful death released the only man who
had dared to carry on a systematic warfare with the Inquisition.[111]

The progress of reaction had been rapid. In 1315 Louis Hutin had issued
an edict in which were embodied most of the provisions of the laws of
Frederic II. This piece of legislation, perfectly superfluous in view of
the eighty years’ career of the Inquisition in his dominions, is only
of interest as showing the influence already obtained by the Dominicans
during the papal interregnum. With the election of John XXII.,
notwithstanding his publication of the Clementines, all fear of
interference disappeared, and the populations were surrendered again to
the unchecked authority of the inquisitors. There was a significant
notice to this effect in the withdrawal by the new pope, March 30, 1318,
of the security given by Clement’s cardinals to Aimeric Castel and the
other citizens of Carcassonne, Albi, and Cordes, who were deputed to
carry on the case of those cities against the inquisitors, and the
latter were directed to prosecute them diligently. The Inquisition
recognized that its hour of triumph had come, and took in hand the
survivors of those who had been conspicuous in the disturbances of
fifteen years before. The unconvicted prisoners of 1299 and 1300, whom
it had held in defiance of the reiterated orders of Clement--at least
those who had not rotted to death in its dungeons--were brought forth
and disposed of. A still more emphatic assertion of its renewed mastery
was the subjection and “reconciliation” of the rebellious towns. Of
what took place at Carcassonne we have no record, but it probably was
the same as the ceremonies performed at Albi. There, March 11, 1319, the
consuls and councillors and a great crowd of citizens were assembled in
the cathedral cemetery, before Bishop Bernard and the inquisitor Jean de
Beaune. There, with uplifted hands, they all professed repentance in the
most humiliating terms, and swore to accept whatever penance might be
imposed upon them, and thereafter to obey implicitly the bishop and
inquisitor. Then those present, together with the dead who had shown
signs of penitence, were relieved from excommunication, the rest of the
population being required to apply for absolution within a month. The
announcement of the penances followed. The town was to make good all
expenses and losses accruing to the episcopate and Inquisition by reason
of the troubles; it was to build and complete within two years a chapel
to the cathedral, and a portal to the Dominican church; to give fifty
livres to the Carmelites to be expended on their church, and, finally,
to construct marble tombs for Nicholas d’Abbeville, and Foulques de
Saint-Georges at Lyons and Carcassonne, where those inquisitors had died
in poverty and exile by reason of the rebellion of the inhabitants. Ten
pilgrimages, moreover, were designated for the survivors of those who in
1301 had bound themselves to prosecute Bishop Bertrand and Nicholas
d’Abbeville in the royal court, as well as for those who had served as
consuls and councillors from 1302 to 1304. Jean de Beaune seems to have
considered it a special grace when, in December, 1320, he postponed the
performance of their pilgrimages during the year from Easter, 1321, to
1322. The town of Cordes, June 29, 1321, was “reconciled” with a
similar humiliating ceremony and pledges of future obedience. Thus the
Inquisition celebrated its triumph in the long struggle. It had won the
victory, and its opponents could only save themselves by unconditional

       *       *       *       *       *

Whether the citizens of Albi whose arrest in 1299 gave rise to so many
troubles were really heretics or not cannot now be determined. Their
confessions were precise and detailed, but, as their defenders alleged,
the Inquisition had ample means of extorting what it pleased from its
victims, and the long delay in convicting them would seem to argue that
the tribunal had good reason for not wishing its sentences to see the
light while there was chance of their being subjected to scrutiny under
Clement V. The inquisitors urged in justification a single case, that of
Lambert de Foyssenx, who complained to Clement’s cardinals that he had
been unjustly accused, but who subsequently asserted his heresy
defiantly, refused to recant, and was burned in 1309. This is the only
instance of the kind, for the wretched survivors who were led to abjure
and recant in 1319 were broken by prison and torture, and their evidence
is worthless.[113]

Yet Bernard Gui was undoubtedly correct when he asserted that the
troubles and limitations imposed on the Inquisition under Philippe le
Bel led to the recrudescence of a heresy which had been nearly
extinguished. In the debate before the king at Toulouse, in 1304,
Guillem Pierre, the Dominican provincial, asserted that there were then
in Languedoc no heretics except some forty or fifty in Albi,
Carcassonne, and Cordes, and for a few leagues around them. This was
doubtless an exaggeration, but with improved prospects of immunity
perfected missionaries were invited from Lombardy and Sicily, and the
number of believers rapidly increased. Bernard Gui boasts that from 1301
to 1315 there were more than a thousand detected by the Inquisition, who
confessed and were publicly punished.[114]

The registers of Geoffroi d’Ablis at Carcassonne in 1308-9 show great
activity rewarded by abundant results, and one of the witnesses in the
trial of Bernard Délicieux tells us that, when the Inquisition was able
to resume its labors there, many heretics and believers were promptly
discovered.[115] About the same period commence the sentences of the
Inquisition of Toulouse published by Limborch. In 1306 Bernard Gui had
been appointed inquisitor at Toulouse. His numerous works attest his
wide range of learning and incessant mental activity, while his
practical skill in affairs was animated with a profound conviction of
the wickedness of heresy and of the duty of his Order to enforce, at
every cost, submission to Rome. Two missions as papal legate, one to
Italy and the other to France, and two bishoprics, those of Tuy and
Lodève, attest the value set on his services by John XXII. With his
appointment at Toulouse he promptly commenced the long campaign which
resulted in the virtual extirpation of Catharism in Languedoc. Yet,
though stern and unsparing when the occasion seemed to demand it, his
record bears no trace of useless cruelty or abusive extortion.[116]

Catharism by this time had been forced back to the humbler class among
whom it had found its first disciples. The nobles and gentlemen who had
so long upheld it had perished or been impoverished by the remorseless
confiscations of three quarters of a century. The rich burghers of the
cities--merchants and professional men--had learned the temptations held
out by their wealth and the impossibility of avoiding detection. The
fascinations of martyrdom have their limits, and the martyrs among them
had been gradually but surely weeded out. Yet the old beliefs were still
rooted among the simple folk of country hamlets and especially in the
wild valleys among the foothills of the eastern Pyrenees. The active
intercourse with Lombardy, and even with Sicily, was still kept up, and
there were not wanting earnest ministers who braved every danger to
administer to believers the consolations of their religion and to spread
the faith in the fastnesses which were its last refuge. Chief among
these was Pierre Autier, formerly a notary of Ax (Pamiers). His early
life had not been pure, for we hear of his _druda_, or mistress, and his
natural children, but with advancing years he embraced all the
asceticism of the sect, to which he devoted his life. Driven to Lombardy
in 1295, he returned in 1298 to remain on his native soil to the end,
and to endure a war to the knife from the Inquisition. His property was
confiscated and his family dispersed and ruined. The region to which he
belonged lay at the foot of the Pyrenees, rugged, with few roads and
many caves and hiding-places, whence escape across the frontier to
Aragon was comparatively facile; it was full of his kindred who were
devoted to him, and here for eleven years he maintained himself, lurking
in disguise and wandering from place to place with the emissaries of the
Holy Office ever on his track. He had been ordained to the ministry at
Como, and speedily acquired authority in the sect of which he became one
of the most zealous, indefatigable, and intrepid missionaries. Already,
in 1300, he was so conspicuous that every effort was made for his
apprehension. A certain Guillem Jean offered the Dominicans of Pamiers
to betray him, but the treachery became known among the faithful, two of
whom, Pierre d’Aère and Philippe de Larnat enticed Guillem to the bridge
at Alliat by night, seized him, gagged him, carried him off to the
mountains, and, after extorting a confession, cast him over a precipice.
Worthy lieutenants of Pierre Autier were his brother Guillem and his son
Jacques, Amiel de Perles, Pierre Sanche, and Sanche Mercadier, whose
names occur everywhere throughout the confessions as active
missionaries. Jacques Autier on one occasion had the boldness to preach
at midnight to a gathering of heretic women in the Church of
Sainte-Croix in Toulouse, the spot being selected as one in which they
could best hold their meeting undisturbed.[117]

The work of Geoffroi d’Ablis in Carcassonne seems to be principally
directed to determining the protectors and refuges of Pierre Autier. At
Toulouse Bernard Gui was energetically employed in the same direction.
The heretic was driven from place to place, but the wonderful fidelity
of his disciples seemed to render all efforts vain, and finally Bernard
was driven to the expedient of issuing, August 10, 1309, a special
proclamation as an incitement for his capture.

     “Friar Bernard Gui, Dominican, Inquisitor of Toulouse, to all
     worshippers of Christ, the reward and crown of eternal life. Gird
     yourselves, Sons of God; arise with me, Soldiers of Christ, against
     the enemies of his Cross, those corrupters of the truth and purity
     of Catholic faith, Pierre Autier, the heresiarch, and his
     coheretics and accomplices, Pierre Sanche and Sanche Mercadier.
     Hiding in concealment and walking in darkness, I order them by the
     virtue of God, to be tracked and seized wherever they may be found,
     promising eternal reward from God, and also a fitting temporal
     payment to those who will capture and produce them. Watch,
     therefore, O pastors, lest the wolves snatch away the sheep of your
     flock! Act manfully, faithful zealots, lest the adversaries of the
     faith fly and escape!”

This stirring exhortation was probably superfluous, for the prey was
captured before it could have been published throughout the land. The
arrest of nearly all his family and friends, in 1308-9, had driven
Pierre Autier from his accustomed haunts. About St. John’s Day (June
24), 1309, he found refuge with Perrin Maurel of Belpech, near
Castelnaudari, where he lay for five weeks or more. Thither came his
daughter Guillelma, who remained with him a short time, and the two
departed together. The next day he was captured. Perrin Maurel was
likewise seized, and with customary fidelity stoutly denied everything
until Pierre Autier, in prison, advised him in December to confess.[118]

This triumph was followed in October by the capture of Amiel de Perles,
who forthwith placed himself in _endura_, refusing to eat or drink, and,
as he was fast sinking, to prevent the stake from being robbed of its
prey, a special _auto de fé_ was hurriedly arranged for his burning,
October 23. While yet his strength lasted, however, Bernard Gui enjoyed
the ghastly amusement of making the two heresiarchs in his presence
perform the act of heretical “adoration.”[119]

Pierre Autier was not burned until the great _auto de fé_ of April,
1310, when Geoffroi d’Ablis came from Carcassonne to share in the
triumph. The heresiarch had not sought to conceal his faith, but had
boldly declared his obnoxious tenets and had pronounced the Church of
Rome the synagogue of Satan. That he was subjected to the extremity of
torture, however, there can be no reasonable doubt--not to extract a
confession, for this was superfluous, but to force him to betray his
disciples and those who had given him refuge. His intimate acquaintance
with all the heretics of the land was a source of information too
important for Bernard Gui to shrink from any means of acquiring it; and
the copious details thus obtained are alluded to in too many subsequent
sentences for us to hesitate as to the methods by which the heresiarch
was brought to place his friends and associates at the mercy of his

This may be said to close the bloody drama of Catharism in Languedoc.
Armed with the revelations thus obtained, Bernard Gui and Geoffroi
d’Ablis required but a few years more to convert or burn the remnant of
Pierre Autier’s disciples who could be caught, and to drive into exile
those who eluded their spies. No new and self-devoted missionaries arose
to take his place, and after 1315 the Patarin almost disappears from
the records of the Inquisition in France. Some few scattering cases
subsequently occur, but their offences are of old date and almost
invariably revert to the missionary work of Pierre Autier and his
associates. One of the latest of these is recorded in an undated
sentence, probably of 1327 or 1328, in which Jean Duprat, Inquisitor of
Carcassonne, condemns Guillelma Tornière. She had abjured and had been
long confined in prison, where she was detected in making converts and
praising Guillem Autier and Guillem Balibaste as good and saintly men.
Under interrogation she refused to take an oath, and was accordingly
burned. In 1328, Henri de Chamay of Carcassonne condemned to prison
Guillem Amiel for Catharism, and in 1329 he sentenced two Cathari,
Bartolomé Pays and Raymond Garric of Albi, whose offences had been
committed respectively thirty-five and forty years before. In the same
year he ordered four houses and a farm to be demolished because their
owners had been hereticated in them, but these acts had doubtless been
performed long previous. Confiscations still continued for ancestral
offences, but Catharism as an existing belief may be said at this period
to be virtually extinct in Languedoc, where it had a hundred and fifty
years before had a reasonable prospect of becoming the dominant

In the same year, 1329, occurred a case which is not without interest as
showing how an earnest but unstable brain pondering over the crime and
misery of the world, wove some of the cruder elements of Catharism and
Averrhoism into a fantastic theory. Limoux Noir, of Saint-Paul in the
diocese of Alet, had already been tried by his bishop in 1326, but had
been able to evade the unskilled officials of the episcopal tribunal.
The Inquisition had surer methods and speedily brought him to
confession. He had formed a philosophy of the Universe which superseded
all religion. God had created the archangels, these the angels, and the
latter the sun and moon. These heavenly bodies, as being unstable and
corruptible, were females. Out of their urine the world was formed, and
was necessarily corrupt, with all that sprang from it. Moses, Mahomet,
and Christ were all sent by the sun and were teachers of equal
authority. In the under world Christ and Mahomet are now disputing and
seeking to gain followers. Baptism was of no more use than the
circumcision of Israel or the blessing of Islam, for those who renounced
evil in baptism grew up to be robbers and strumpets. The Eucharist was
naught, for God would not let himself be handled by adulterers such as
the priests. Matrimony was to be shunned, for from it sprang robbers and
strumpets. Thus he explained away and rejected all the doctrines and
practices of the Church. To see whether the Saviour’s fast of forty days
was possible, he had fasted in a cabin ten days and nights, at the end
of which this system of philosophy had been revealed to him by God.
Again, in 1327, he had placed himself in _endura_, with the resolve to
carry it to the end, but had been persuaded by his brother to take the
Eucharist, to save his bones from being burned after his death. He was
sixty years old, and his crazy doctrines had brought him a few
disciples, but the sect was crushed at the outset. He declared to the
inquisitor that he would rather be flayed alive than believe in
transubstantiation, and he proved his resolute character by resisting
all attempts to induce him to recant, so that there was no alternative
but to abandon him to the secular arm, which was duly done and his
belief perished with him.[122]

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus the Inquisition triumphed, as force will generally do when it is
sufficiently strong, skilfully applied, and systematically continued
without interruption to the end. In the twelfth century the south of
France had been the most civilized land of Europe. There commerce,
industry, art, science, had been far in advance of the age. The cities
had won virtual self-government, were proud of their wealth and
strength, jealous of their liberties, and self-sacrificing in their
patriotism. The nobles, for the most part, were cultivated men, poets
themselves or patrons of poetry, who had learned that their prosperity
depended on the prosperity of their subjects, and that municipal
liberties were a safeguard, rather than a menace, to the wise ruler. The
crusaders came, and their unfinished work was taken up and executed to
the bitter end by the Inquisition. It left a ruined and impoverished
country, with shattered industry and failing commerce. The native nobles
were broken by confiscation and replaced by strangers, who occupied the
soil, introducing the harsh customs of Northern feudalism, or the
despotic principles of the Roman law, in the extensive domains acquired
by the crown. A people of rare natural gifts had been tortured,
decimated, humiliated, despoiled, for a century and more. The precocious
civilization which had promised to lead Europe in the path of culture
was gone, and to Italy was transferred the honor of the Renaissance. In
return for this was unity of faith and a Church which had been hardened
and vitiated and secularized in the strife. Such was the work and such
the outcome of the Inquisition in the field which afforded it the widest
scope for its activity, and the fullest opportunity for developing its

Yet in the very triumph of the Inquisition was the assurance of its
decline. Supported by the State, it had earned and repaid the royal
favor by the endless stream of confiscations which it poured into the
royal coffers. Perhaps nothing contributed more to the consolidation of
the royal supremacy than the change of ownership which threw into new
hands so large a portion of the lands of the South. In the territories
of the great vassals the right to the confiscations for heresy became
recognized as an important portion of the _droits seigneurioux_. In the
domains of the crown they were granted to favorites or sold at moderate
prices to those who thus became interested in the new order of things.
The royal officials grasped everything on which they could lay their
hands, whether on the excuse of treason or of heresy, with little regard
to any rights; and although the integrity of Louis IX. caused an inquest
to be held in 1262 which restored a vast amount of property illegally
held, this was but a small fraction of the whole. To assist his
Parlement in settling the innumerable cases which arose, he ordered, in
1260, the charters and letters of greatest importance to be sent to
Paris. Those of each of the six senechaussées filled a coffer, and the
six coffers were deposited in the treasury of the Sainte-Chapelle. In
this process of absorption the case of the extensive Viscounty of
Fenouillèdes may be taken as an illustration of the zeal with which the
Inquisition co-operated in securing the political results desired by the
crown. Fenouillèdes had been seized during the crusades and given to
Nuñez Sancho of Roussillon, from whom it passed, through the King of
Aragon, into the hands of St. Louis. In 1264 Beatrix, widow of Hugues,
son of the former Viscount Pierre, applied to the Parlement for her
rights and dower and those of her children. Immediately the inquisitor,
Pons de Poyet, commenced a prosecution against the memory of Pierre, who
had died more than twenty years previously in the bosom of the Church,
and had been buried with the Templars of Mas Deu, after assuming the
religious habit and receiving the last sacraments. He was condemned for
having held relations with heretics, his bones were dug up and burned,
and the Parlement rejected the claim of the daughter-in-law and
grandchildren. Pierre, the eldest of these, in 1300, made a claim for
the ancestral estates, and Boniface VIII. espoused his quarrel with the
object of giving trouble to Philippe le Bel; but, though the affair was
pursued for some years, the inquisitorial sentence held good. It was not
only the actual heretics and their descendants who were dispossessed.
The land had been so deeply tinctured with heresy that there were few
indeed whose ancestors could not be shown, by the records of the
Inquisition, to have incurred the fatal taint of associating with

The rich bourgeoisie of the cities were ruined in the same way. Some
inventories have been preserved of the goods and chattels sequestrated
when the arrests were made at Albi in 1299 and 1300, which show how
thoroughly everything was swept into the maelstrom. That of Raymond
Calverie, a notary, gives us every detail of the plenishing of a
well-to-do burgher’s house--every pillow, sheet, and coverlet is
enumerated, every article of kitchen gear, the salted provisions and
grain, even his wife’s little trinkets. His farm or bastide was
subjected to the same minuteness of seizure. Then we have a similar
insight into the stock and goods of Jean Baudier, a rich merchant. Every
fragment of stuff is duly measured--cloths of Ghent, Ypres, Amiens,
Cambray, St. Omer, Rouen, Montcornet, etc., with their valuation--pieces
of miniver, and other articles of trade. His town house and farm were
inventoried with the same conscientious care. It is easy to see how
prosperous cities were reduced to poverty, how industry languished, and
how the independence of the municipalities was broken into subjection in
the awful uncertainty which hung over the head of every man.[124]

In this respect the Inquisition was building better than it knew. In
thus aiding to establish the royal power over the newly-acquired
provinces, it was contributing to erect an authority which was destined
in the end to reduce it to comparative insignificance. With the
disappearance of Catharism, Languedoc became as much a part of the
monarchy as l’Isle de France, and the career of its Inquisition merges
into that of the rest of the kingdom. It need not, therefore, be pursued
separately further.



Although Catharism never obtained in the North sufficient foothold to
render it threatening to the Church, yet the crusades and the efforts
which followed the pacification of 1229 must have driven many heretics
to seek refuge in places where they might escape suspicion. In
organizing persecution in the South, therefore, it was necessary to
provide some supervision more watchful than episcopal negligence was
likely to supply, over the regions whither heretics might fly when
pursued at home, or the efforts made in Languedoc would only be
scattering the infection. Vigilant guardians of the faith were
consequently requisite in lands where heretics were few and hidden, as
well as in those where they were numerous and enjoyed protection from
noble and city. Under the pious king, St. Louis, who declared that the
only argument a layman could use with a heretic was to thrust a sword
into him up to the hilt, they were sure of ample support from the
secular power.[125]

Accordingly when, in 1233, the experiment was tried of appointing Pierre
Cella and Guillem Arnaud as inquisitors in Toulouse, a similar tentative
effort was made in the northern part of the kingdom. Here also it was
the Dominican Order which was called upon to furnish the necessary
zealots. I have already alluded to the failure of the attempt to induce
the Friars of Franche-Comté to undertake the work. In western Burgundy,
however, the Church was more fortunate in finding a proper instrument.
Like Rainerio Saccone, Frère Robert, known as _le Bugre_, had been a
Patarin. The peculiar fitness thence derived for detecting the hidden
heretic was rendered still more effective by the special gift which he
is said to have claimed, of being able to recognize them by their
speech and carriage. In addition, he was fitted for the work by the
ardent fanaticism of the convert, by his learning, his fiery eloquence,
and his mercilessness. When, early in 1233, instructions to persecute
heresy were sent to the Prior of Besançon, Robert was nominated to
represent him and act as his substitute; and, eager to manifest his
zeal, he lost no time in making a descent upon La Charité. It will be
remembered that this place was notorious as a centre of heresy in the
twelfth century, and that repeated efforts had been made to purify it.
These had proved fruitless against the stubbornness of the misbelievers,
and Frère Robert found Stephen, the Cluniac prior, vainly endeavoring to
win or force them over. The new inquisitor seems to have been armed with
no special powers, but his energy speedily made a profound impression,
and heretics came forward and confessed their errors in crowds, husbands
and wives, parents and children, accusing themselves and each other
without reserve. He reported to Gregory IX. that the reality was far
worse than had been rumored; that the whole town was a stinking nest of
heretical wickedness, where the Catholic faith was almost wholly set
aside and the people in their secret conventicles had thrown off its
yoke. Under a specious appearance of piety they deceived the wisest, and
their earnest missionary efforts, extending over the whole of France,
were seducing souls from Flanders to Britanny. Uncertain as to his
authority, he applied to Gregory for instructions and was told to act
energetically in conjunction with the bishops, and, under the statutes
recently issued by the Holy See, to extirpate heresy thoroughly from the
whole region, invoking the aid of the secular arm, and coercing it if
necessary with the censures of the Church.[126]

We have no means of knowing what measures Robert adopted, but there can
be no doubt that under this stimulus, and clothed with this authority,
he was active and unsparing. His crazy fanaticism probably exaggerated
greatly the extent of the evil and confounded the innocent with the
guilty. It was not long before the Archbishop of Sens, in whose province
La Charité lay, expostulated with Gregory upon this interference with
his jurisdiction, and in this he was joined by other prelates, alarmed
at the authority given to the Dominican Provincial of Paris to appoint
inquisitors for all portions of the kingdom. They assured the pope that
there was no heresy in their provinces and no necessity for these
extraordinary measures. Gregory thereupon revoked all commissions early
in February, 1234, and urged the prelates to be vigilant, recommending
them to make use of Dominicans in all cases where action appeared
desirable, as the friars were specially skilled in the refutation of
heresy. Had Robert been an ordinary man this might have postponed for
some time the extension of the Inquisition in France, but he was too
ardent to be repressed. In June, 1234, we find St. Louis paying for the
maintenance of heretics in prison at St. Pierre-le-Moutier, near Nevers,
which would seem as though Frère Robert had succeeded in getting to work
again on his old field of operations. Meanwhile he had not been idle
elsewhere. King Louis furnished him with an armed guard to protect him
from the enmities which he aroused, and, secure in the royal favor, he
traversed the country carrying terror everywhere. At Péronne he burned
five victims; at Elincourt, four, besides a pregnant woman who was
spared for a time at the intercession of the queen. His methods were
speedy, for before Lent was out we find him at Cambrai, where, with the
assistance of the Archbishop of Reims and three bishops, he burned about
twenty and condemned others to crosses and prison. Thence he hastened to
Douai, where, in May, he had the satisfaction of burning ten more, and
condemning numerous others to crosses and prison in the presence of the
Count of Flanders, the Archbishop of Reims, sundry bishops and an
immense multitude who crowded to the spectacle. Thence he hurried to
Lille, where more executions followed. All this was sufficient to
convince Gregory that he had been misinformed as to the absence of
heresy. Undisturbed by the severe experience which he had just undergone
with a similar apostle of persecution, Conrad of Marburg, we find him,
in August, 1235, excitedly announcing to the Dominican provincial that
God had revealed to him that the whole of France was boiling with the
venom of heretical reptiles, and that the business of the Inquisition
must be resumed with loosened rein. Frère Robert was to be commissioned
again, with fitting colleagues to scour the whole kingdom, aided by the
prelates, so that innocence should not suffer nor guilt escape. The
Archbishop of Sens was strictly ordered to lend efficient help to
Robert, whom God had gifted with especial grace in these matters, and
Robert himself was honored with a special papal commission empowering
him to act throughout the whole of France. The pope, moreover, spurred
him on with exhortations to spare no labor in the work, and not to
shrink from martyrdom if necessary for the salvation of souls.[127]

This was pouring oil upon the flames. Robert’s untempered fanaticism had
required no stimulus, and now it raged beyond all bounds. The kingdom,
by Gregory’s thoughtless zeal, was delivered up to one who was little
better than a madman. Supported by the piety of St. Louis, the prelates
were obliged to aid him and carry out his behests, and for several years
he traversed the provinces of Flanders, Champagne, Burgundy, and France
with none to curb or oppose him. The crazy ardor of such a man was not
likely to be discriminating or to require much proof of guilt. Those
whom he designated as heretics had the alternative of abjuration with
perpetual imprisonment or of the stake--varied occasionally with burial
alive. In one term of two or three months he is said to have thus
despatched about fifty unfortunates of either sex, and the whole number
of his victims during his unchecked career of several years must have
been large. The terror spread by his arbitrary and pitiless proceedings
rendered him formidable to high and low alike, until at length the
evident confounding of the innocent with the guilty raised a clamor to
which even Gregory IX. was forced to listen. An investigation was held
in 1238 which exposed his misdeeds, though not before he had time, in
1239, to burn a number of heretics at Montmorillon in Vienne, and
twenty-seven, or, according to other accounts, one hundred and
eighty-three, at Mont-Wimer--the original seat of Catharism in the
eleventh century--where, at this holocaust pleasing to God, there were
present the King of Navarre with a crowd of prelates and nobles and a
multitude wildly estimated at seven hundred thousand souls. Robert’s
commission was withdrawn, and he expiated his insane cruelties in
perpetual prison. The case ought to have proved, like that of Conrad of
Marburg, a wholesome warning. Unfortunately the spirit which he had
aroused survived him, and for three or four years after his fall active
persecution raged from the Rhine to the Loire, under the belief that the
land was full of heretics.[128]

The unlucky termination of Robert’s career did not affect his
colleagues, and thenceforth the Inquisition was permanently established
throughout France in Dominican hands. The prelates at first were
stimulated to some show of rivalry in the performance of their neglected
duties. Thus the provincial council of Tours, in 1239, endeavored to
revive the forgotten system of synodal witnesses. Every bishop was
instructed to appoint in each parish three clerks--or, if such could not
be had, three laymen worthy of trust--who were to be sworn to reveal to
the officials all ecclesiastical offences, especially those concerning
the faith. Such devices, however, were too cumbrous and obsolete to be
of any avail against a crime so sedulously and so easily concealed as
heresy, even if the prelates had been zealous and earnest persecutors.
The Dominicans remained undisputed masters of the field, always on the
alert, travelling from place to place, scrutinizing and questioning,
searching the truth and dragging it from unwilling hearts. Yet scarce a
trace of their strenuous labors has been left to us. Heretics throughout
the North were comparatively few and scattered; the chroniclers of the
period take no note of their discovery and punishment, nor even of the
establishment of the Inquisition itself. That a few friars should be
deputed to the duty of hunting heretics was too unimpressive a fact to
be worthy of record. We know, however, that the pious King Louis
welcomed them in his old hereditary dominions, as he did in the
newly-acquired territories of Languedoc, and stimulated their zeal by
defraying their expenses. In the accounts of the royal baillis for 1248
we find entries of sums disbursed for them in Paris, Orleans, Issoudun,
Senlis, Amiens, Tours, Yèvre-le-Chatel, Beaumont, St. Quentin, Laon, and
Macon, showing that his liberality furnished them with means to do their
work, not only in the domains of the crown, but in those of the great
vassals; and these items further illustrate their activity in every
corner of the land. That their sharp pursuit rendered heresy unsafe is
seen in the permission already alluded to, in 1255, to pursue their
quarry across the border into the territories of Alphonse of Toulouse,
thus disregarding the limitations of inquisitorial districts.[129]

This shows us that already the Inquisition was becoming organized in a
systematic manner. In Provence, where Pons de l’Esparre, the Dominican
prior, had at first carried on a kind of volunteer chase after heretics,
we see an inquisitor officially acting in 1245. This district,
comprising the whole southeastern portion of modern France, with Savoy,
was confided to the Franciscans. In 1266, when they were engaged in
Marseilles in mortal strife with the Dominicans, the business of
persecution would seem to have been neglected, for we find Clement IV.
ordering the Benedictines of St. Victor to make provision for
extirpating the numerous heretics of the valley of Rousset, where they
had a dependency. The Inquisition of Provence was extended in 1288 over
Avignon and the Comtat Venaissin, whose governor was ordered to defray
from the confiscations the moderate expenses of the inquisitors,
Bertrand de Cigotier and Guillem de Saint-Marcel. In 1292 Dauphiné was
likewise included, thus completing the organization in the territories
east of the Rhone. The attention of the inquisitors was specially called
to the superstition which led many Christians to frequent the Jewish
synagogues with lighted candles, offering oblations and watching through
the vigils of the Sabbath, when afflicted with sickness or other
tribulations, anxious for friends at sea or for approaching childbirth.
All such observances, even in Jews, were idolatry and heresy, and those
who practised them were to be duly prosecuted.[130]

With this exception the whole of France was confided to the Dominicans.
In 1253 a bull of Innocent IV. renders the Provincial of Paris supreme
over the rest of the kingdom, including the territories of Alphonse of
Toulouse. Numerous bulls follow during the next few years which speak of
the growth of heresy requiring increased efforts for its suppression and
of the solicitude of King Louis that the Inquisition should be
effective. Elaborate instructions are sent for its management, and
various changes are made and unmade in a manner to show that a watchful
eye was kept on the institution in France, and that there was a constant
effort to render it as efficient as possible. By a papal brief of 1255
we see that at that time the Inquisition of Languedoc was independent of
the Paris provincial; in 1257 it is again under his authority; in 1261
it is once more removed, and in 1264 it is restored to him--a provision
which became final, rendering him in some sort a grand-inquisitor for
the whole of France. In 1255 the Franciscan provincial was adjoined to
the Dominican, thus dividing the functions between the two Orders; but
this arrangement, as might be expected, does not seem to have worked
well, and in 1256 we find the power again concentrated in the hands of
the Dominicans. The number of inquisitors to be appointed was always
strictly limited by the popes, and it varied with the apparent
exigencies of the times and also with the extent of territory. In 1256
only two are specified; in 1258 this is pronounced insufficient for so
extensive a region, and the provincial is empowered to appoint four
more. In 1261, when Languedoc was withdrawn, the number is reduced to
two; in 1266 it is increased to four, exclusive of Languedoc and
Provence, to whom in 1267 associates were adjoined, and in 1273 the
number was made six, including Languedoc, but excluding Provence. This
seems to have been the final organization, but it does not appear that
the Northern kingdom was divided into districts, strictly delimitated as
those of the South.[131]

The Inquisition at Besançon appears to have been at first independent
of that of Paris. After the failure to establish it in 1233 it seems to
have remained in abeyance until 1247, when Innocent IV. ordered the
Prior of Besançon to send friars throughout Burgundy and Lorraine for
the extirpation of heresy. The next year John Count of Burgundy urged
greater activity, but his zeal does not seem to have been supplemented
with liberality, and in 1255 the Dominicans asked to be relieved of the
thankless task, which proved unsuccessful for lack of funds, and
Alexander IV. acceded to their request. There are some evidences of an
Inquisition being in operation there about 1283, and in 1290 Nicholas
IV. ordered the Provincial of Paris to select three inquisitors to serve
in the dioceses of Besançon, Geneva, Lausanne, Sion, Metz, Toul, and
Verdun, thus placing Lorraine and the French Cantons of Switzerland, as
well as Franche Comté, under the Inquisition of France, an arrangement
which seems to have lasted for more than a century.[132]

Little remains to us of the organization thus perfected over the wide
territory stretching from the Bay of Biscay to the Rhine. The laborers
were vigorous, and labored according to the light which was in them, but
the men and their acts are buried beneath the dust of the forgotten
past. That they did their duty is visible in the fact that heresy makes
so little figure in France, and that the slow but remorseless
extermination of Catharism in Languedoc was not accompanied by its
perpetuation in the North. We hear constantly of refugees from Toulouse
and Carcassonne flying for safety to Lombardy and even to Sicily, but
never to Touraine or Champagne, nor do we ever meet with cases in which
the earnest missionaries of Catharism sought converts beyond the
Cevennes. This may fairly be ascribed to the vigilance of the
inquisitors, who were ever on the watch. Chance has preserved for us as
models in a book of formulas some documents issued by Frère Simon Duval,
in 1277 and 1278, which afford us a momentary glimpse at his proceedings
and enable us to estimate the activity requisite for the functions of
his office. He styles himself inquisitor “_in regno Franciæ_,” which
indicates that his commission extended throughout the kingdom north of
Languedoc, and he speaks of himself as acting in virtue of the
apostolical authority and royal power, showing that Philippe le Hardi
had dutifully commissioned him to summon the whole forces of the State
to his assistance when requisite. November 23, 1277, he gives public
notice that two canons of Liège, Suger de Verbanque and Berner de
Niville, had fled on being suspected of heresy, and he cites them to
appear for trial at St. Quentin in Vermandois on the 23d of the ensuing
January. This trial was apparently postponed, for on January 21, 1278,
we find him summoning the people and clergy of Caen to attend his sermon
on the 23d. Here he at least found an apostate Jewess who fled, and we
have his proclamation calling upon every one to aid Copin, sergeant of
the Bailli of Caen, who had been despatched in her pursuit. Frère Duval
was apparently making an extended inquest, for July 5 he summons the
people and clergy of Orleans to attend his sermon on the 7th. A
fortnight later he is back in Normandy and has discovered a nest of
heretics near Evreux, for on July 21 we have his citation of thirteen
persons from a little village hard by to appear before him. These
fragmentary and accidental remains show that his life was a busy one and
that his labors were not unfruitful. A letter of the young Philippe le
Bel, in February, 1285, to his officials in Champagne and Brie, ordering
them to lend all aid to the inquisitor Frère Guillaume d’Auxerre,
indicates that those provinces were about to undergo a searching

The inquisitors of France complained that their work was impeded by the
universal right of asylum which gave protection to criminals who
succeeded in entering a church. No officer of the law dared to follow
and make an arrest within the sacred walls, for a violation of this
privilege entailed excommunication, removable only after exemplary
punishment. Heretics were not slow in availing themselves of the
immunity thus mercifully afforded by the Church which they had wronged,
and in the jealousy which existed between the secular clergy and the
inquisitors there was apparently no effort made to restrict the abuse.
Martin IV. was accordingly appealed to, and in 1281 he issued a bull
addressed to all the prelates of France, declaring that such perversion
of the right of asylum was no longer to be permitted; that in such
cases the inquisitors were to have full opportunity to vindicate the
faith, and that so far from being impeded in the performance of their
duty, they were to be aided in every way. The special mention in this
bull of apostate Jews along with other heretics indicates that this
unfortunate class formed a notable portion of the objects of
inquisitorial zeal. Several of them, in fact, were burned or otherwise
penanced in Paris between 1307 and 1310.[134]

There was one class of offenders who would have afforded the Inquisition
an ample field for its activity, had it been disposed to take cognizance
of them. By the canons, any one who had endured excommunication for a
year without submission and seeking absolution was pronounced suspect of
heresy, and we have seen Boniface VIII., in 1297, directing the
inquisitors of Carcassonne to prosecute the authorities of Béziers for
this cause. The land was full of such excommunicates, for the shocking
abuse of the anathema by priest and prelate for personal interests had
indurated the people, and in a countless number of cases absolution was
only to be procured by the sacrifice of rights which even faithful sons
of the Church were not prepared to make. This growing disregard of the
censure was aggravating to the last degree, but the inquisitors do not
seem to have been disposed to come forward in aid of the secular clergy,
nor did the latter call upon them for assistance. In 1301 the Council of
Reims directed that proceedings should be commenced, when it next should
meet, against all who had been under excommunication for two years, as
being suspect of heresy; and in 1303 it called upon all such to come
forward and purge themselves of the suspicion, but the court in which
this was to be done was that of the bishops and not of the Inquisition.
Mutual jealousy was seemingly too strong to admit of such

       *       *       *       *       *

In 1308 we hear of a certain Étienne de Verberie of Soissons, accused
before the inquisitor of blasphemous expressions concerning the body of
Christ. He alleged drunkenness in excuse, and was mercifully treated.
Shortly afterwards occurred the first formal _auto de fé_ of which we
have cognizance at Paris, on May 31, 1310. A renegade Jew was burned,
but the principal victim was Marguerite de Hainault, or la Porete. She
is described as a “_béguine clergesse_,” the first apostle in France
of the German sect of Brethren of the Free Spirit, whom we shall
consider more fully hereafter. Her chief error was the doctrine that the
soul, absorbed in Divine love, could yield without sin or remorse to all
the demands of the flesh, and she regarded with insufficient veneration
the sacrifice of the altar. She had written a book to propagate these
doctrines which had, before the year 1305, been condemned as heretical
and burned by Gui II., Bishop of Cambrai. He had mercifully spared her,
while forbidding her under pain of the stake from circulating it in
future or disseminating its doctrines. In spite of this she had again
been brought before Gui’s successor, Philippe de Marigny, and the
Inquisitor of Lorraine, for spreading it among the simple folk called
Begghards, and she had again escaped. Unwearied in her missionary work,
she had even ventured to present the forbidden volume to Jean, Bishop of
Chalons, without suffering the penalty due to her obstinacy. In 1308 she
extended her propaganda to Paris and fell into the hands of Frère
Guillaume de Paris, the inquisitor, before whom she persistently refused
to take the preliminary oath requisite to her examination. He was
probably too preoccupied with the affair of the Templars to give her
prompt justice, and for eighteen months she lay in the inquisitorial
dungeons under the consequent excommunication. This would alone have
sufficed for her conviction as an impenitent heretic, but her previous
career rendered her a relapsed heretic. Instead of calling an assembly
of experts, as was customary in Languedoc, the inquisitor laid a written
statement of the case before the canonists of the University, who
unanimously decided, May 30, that if the facts as stated were true, she
was a relapsed heretic, to be relaxed to the secular arm. Accordingly,
on May 31, she was handed over, with the customary adjuration for mercy,
to the prévôt of Paris, who duly burned her the next day, when her noble
manifestation of devotion moved the people to tears of compassion.
Another actor in the tragedy was a disciple of Marguerite, a clerk of
the diocese of Beauvais named Guion de Cressonessart. He had endeavored
to save Marguerite from the clutches of the Inquisition, and on being
seized had, like her, refused to take the oath during eighteen months’
imprisonment. His brain seems to have turned during his detention, for
at length he astonished the inquisitor by proclaiming himself the Angel
of Philadelphia and an envoy of God, who alone could save mankind. The
inquisitor in vain pointed out that this was a function reserved solely
for the pope, and as Guion would not withdraw his claims he was
convicted as a heretic. For some reason, however, not specified in the
sentence, he was only condemned to degradation from orders and to
perpetual imprisonment.[136]

The next case of which we hear is that of the Sieur de Partenay, in
1323, to which allusion has already been made. Its importance to us lies
in its revealing the enormous and almost irresponsible authority wielded
by the Inquisition at this period. The most powerful noble of Poitou,
when designated as a heretic by Frère Maurice, the Inquisitor of Paris,
is at once thrown into the prison of the Temple by the king, and all his
estates are sequestrated to await the result. Fortunately for Partenay
he had a large circle of influential friends and kindred, among them the
Bishop of Noyon, who labored strenuously in his behalf. He was able to
appeal to the pope, alleging personal hatred on the part of Frère
Maurice; he was sent under guard to Avignon, where his friends succeeded
in inducing John XXII. to assign certain bishops as assessors to try the
case with the inquisitor, and after infinite delays he was at length set
free--probably not without the use of means which greatly diminished his
wealth. When such a man could be so handled at the mere word of an angry
friar, meaner victims stood little chance.[137] This case in the North
and the close of Bernard Gui’s career in Toulouse, about the same time,
mark the apogee of the Inquisition in France. Thenceforth we have to
follow its decline.

Yet for some years longer there was a show of activity at Carcassonne,
where Henri de Chamay was a worthy representative of the older
inquisitors. January 16, 1329, in conjunction with Pierre Bruni he
celebrated an _auto de fé_ at Pamiers, where thirty-five persons were
permitted to lay aside crosses, and twelve were released from prison
with crosses, six were pardoned, seven were condemned to perpetual
imprisonment, together with four false witnesses, eight had arbitrary
penances assigned them, four dead persons were sentenced, and a friar
and a priest were degraded. As the see of Pamiers, to which this _auto_
was confined, was a small one, the number of sentences uttered indicates
active work. December 12, of the same year, Henri de Chamay held another
at Narbonne, where the fate of some forty delinquents was decided. Then,
January 7, 1329, he held another at Pamiers; May 19, one at Béziers;
September 8, one at Carcassonne, where six unfortunates were burned and
twenty-one condemned to perpetual prison. Shortly afterwards he burned
three at Albi, and towards the end of the year he held another _auto_ at
a place not named, where eight persons were sentenced to prison, three
to prison in chains, and two were burned. Some collisions seem to have
occurred about this time with the royal officials, for, in 1334, the
inquisitors complained to Philippe de Valois that their functions were
impeded, and Philippe issued orders to the seneschals of Nimes,
Toulouse, and Carcassonne that the Inquisition must be maintained in the
full enjoyment of its ancient privileges.[138]

Activity continued for some little time longer, but the records have
perished which would supply the details. We happen to have the accounts
of the Sénéchaussée of Toulouse, for 1337, which show that Pierre Bruni,
the inquisitor, was by no means idle. The receiver of confiscations
enumerates the estates of thirty heretics from which collections are in
hand; there was an _auto de fé_ celebrated and paid for; the number of
prisoners in the inquisitorial jail is stated at eighty-two, but as
their maintenance during eleven months amounted to the sum of three
hundred and sixty-five livres fourteen sols, the average number at three
deniers per diem must have been ninety. The terrible vicissitudes of the
English war doubtless soon afterwards slackened the energy of the
inquisitors, but we know that there were _autos de fé_ celebrated at
Carcassonne in 1346, 1357, and 1383, and one at Toulouse in 1374. The
office of inquisitor continued to be filled, but its functions
diminished greatly in importance, as we may guess from the fact that it
is related of Pierre de Mercalme, who was Provincial of Toulouse from
1350 to 1363, that during more than two years of this period he also
served as inquisitor.[139]

In the North we hear little of the Inquisition during this period. The
English wars, in fact, must have seriously interfered with its activity,
but we have an evidence that it was not neglecting its duty in a
complaint made by the Provincial of Paris to Clement VI., in 1351, that
the practice of excepting the territories of Charles of Anjou from the
commissions issued to inquisitors deprived the provinces of Touraine and
Maine of the blessings of the institution and allowed heresy to flourish
there, whereupon the pope promptly extended the authority of Frère
Guillaume Chevalier and of all future inquisitors to those regions.[140]

With the return of peace under Charles le Sage the Inquisition had freer
scope. The Begghards, or Brethren of the Free Spirit, undeterred by the
martyrdom of Marguerite la Porete, had continued to exist in secret. In
September, 1365, Urban V. notified the prelates and inquisitors
throughout France that they were actively at work propagating their
doctrines, and he sent detailed information as to their tenets and the
places where they were to be found to the Bishop of Paris, with orders
to communicate it to his fellow-prelates and the Inquisition. If any
immediate response to this was made, the result has not reached us, but
in 1372 we find Frère Jacques de More, “_inquisiteur des Bougres_,”
busy in eradicating them. They called themselves the Company of Poverty,
and were popularly known by the name of Turelupins; as in Germany, they
were distinguished by their peculiar vestments, and they propagated
their doctrines largely by their devotional writings in the vernacular.
Charles V. rewarded the labors of the inquisitor with a donation of
fifty francs, and received the thanks of Gregory XI. for his zeal. The
outcome of the affair was the burning of the books and garments of the
heretics in the swine-market beyond the Porte Saint-Honoré, together
with the female leader of the sect, Jeanne Daubenton. Her male colleague
escaped by death in prison, but his body was preserved in quicklime for
fifteen days, in order that he might accompany his partner in guilt in
the flames. That such a spectacle was sufficiently infrequent to render
it a matter of importance is shown by its being recorded in the doggerel
of a contemporary chronicler--

    “L’an MDCCCLXXII. je vous dis tout pour voir
     Furent les Turelupins condannez pour ardoir,
     Pour ce qu’ils desvoient le people à decepvoir
     Par feaultes heresies, l’Eveque en soult levoir.”

The sect was a stubborn one, however, especially in Germany, as we shall
see hereafter, and in the early part of the next century Chancellor
Gerson still considers it of sufficient importance to combat its errors
repeatedly. Its mystic libertinism was dangerously seducing, and he was
especially alarmed by the incredible subtlety with which it was
presented in a book written by a woman known as Mary of Valenciennes. In
May, 1421, twenty-five of these sectaries were condemned at Douai by the
Bishop of Arras. Twenty of them recanted and were penanced with crosses
and banishment or imprisonment, but five were stubborn and sealed their
faith with martyrdom in the flames.[141]

In 1381 Frère Jacques de More had a more illustrious victim in Hugues
Aubriot. A Burgundian by birth, Aubriot’s energy and ability had won for
him the confidence of the wise King Charles, who had made him Prévôt of
Paris. This office he filled with unprecedented vigor. To him the city
owed the first system of sewerage that had been attempted, as well as
the Bastille, which he built as a bulwark against the English, and he
imposed some limitation on the flourishing industry of the _filles de
vie_. His good government gained him the respect and affection of the
people, but he made a mortal enemy of the University by disregarding
the immunities on the preservation of which, in the previous century, it
had staked its existence. In savage mockery of its wrath, when building
the Petit-Châtelet, he named two foul dungeons after two of the
principal quarters of the University, le Clos Bruneau and la Rue du
Foing, saying that they were intended for the students. Under the strong
rule of Charles V. the University had to digest its wrongs as best it
could, but after his death, in 1380, it eagerly watched its opportunity.
This was not long in coming, nor, in the rivalry between the Dukes of
Berri and Burgundy, was it difficult to enlist the former against
Aubriot as a Burgundian. The rule of the princes, at once feeble and
despotic, invited disorder, and when the people, November 25, 1380, rose
against the Jews, pillaged their houses, and forcibly baptized their
children, Aubriot incurred the implacable enmity of the Church by
forcing a restoration of the infants to their parents. The combination
against him thus became too strong for the court to resist. It yielded,
and on January 21, 1381, he was cited to appear before the bishop and
inquisitor. He disdained to obey the summons, and his excommunication
for contumacy was published in all the churches of Paris. This compelled
obedience, and when he came before the inquisitor, on February 1, he was
at once thrown into the episcopal prison while his trial proceeded. The
charges were most frivolous, except the affair of the Jewish children
and his having released from the Châtelet a prisoner accused of heresy,
placed there by the inquisitor. It was alleged that on one occasion one
of his sergeants had excused himself for delay by saying that he had
waited at church to see God (the elevation of the Host), when Aubriot
angrily rejoined, “Sirrah, know ye not that I have more power to harm
you than God to help;” and again that when some one had told him that
they would see God in a mass celebrated by Silvestre de la Cervelle,
Bishop of Coutances, he replied that God would not permit himself to be
handled by such a man as the bishop. His enemies were so exasperated
that on the strength of this flimsy gossip he was actually condemned to
be burned without the privilege allowed to all heretics of saving
himself by abjuration; but the princes intervened and succeeded in
obtaining this for him. He had no reason to complain of undue delay. On
May 17 a solemn _auto de fé_ was held. On a scaffold erected in front of
Nôtre Dame, Aubriot humbly confessed and recanted the heresies of which
he had been convicted, and received the sentence of perpetual
imprisonment, which of course carried with it the confiscation of his
wealth, while the rejoicing scholars of the University lampooned him in
halting verses. He was thence conveyed to a dungeon in the episcopal
prison, where he lay until 1382, when the insurrection of the Maillotins
occurred. The first thought of the people was of their old prévôt. They
broke open the prison, drew him forth and placed him at their head. He
accepted the post, but the same night he quietly withdrew and escaped to
his native Burgundy, where his adventurous life ended in peaceful
obscurity. The story is instructive as showing how efficient an
instrument was the Inquisition for the gratification of malice. In fact,
its functions as a factor in political strife were of sufficient
importance to require more detailed consideration hereafter.[142]

After this we hear little more of the Inquisition of Paris, although it
continued to exist. When, in 1388, the eloquence of Thomas of Apulia
drew wondering crowds to listen with veneration to his teaching that the
law of the Gospel was simply love, with the deduction that the
sacraments, the invocation of saints, and all the inventions of the
current theology were useless; when he wrote a book inveighing against
the sins of prelate and pope, and asserting, with the Everlasting
Gospel, that the reign of the Holy Ghost had supplanted that of the
Father and the Son, and when he boldly announced himself as the envoy of
the Holy Ghost sent to reform the world, the Inquisition was not called
upon to silence even this revolutionary heretic. It was the Prévôt of
Paris who ordered him to desist from preaching, and, when he refused, it
was the bishop and University who tried him, ordered his book to be
burned on the Place de Grève, and would have him burned had not the
medical alienists of the day testified to his insanity and procured for
him a commutation of his punishment to perpetual imprisonment.[143]

       *       *       *       *       *

Various causes had long been contributing to deprive the Inquisition in
France of the importance which it had once enjoyed. It no longer as of
old poured into the royal fisc a stream of confiscations and co-operated
efficiently in consolidating the monarchy. It had done its work too
well, and not only had it become superfluous as an instrument for the
throne, but the throne which it had aided to establish had become
supreme and had reduced it to subjection. Even in the plenitude of
inquisitorial power the tendency to regard the royal court as possessing
a jurisdiction higher than that of the Holy Office is shown in the case
of Amiel de Lautrec, Abbot of S. Sernin. In 1322 the Viguier of Toulouse
accused him to the Inquisition for having preached the doctrine that the
soul is mortal in essence and only immortal through grace. The
Inquisition examined the matter and decided that this was not heresy.
The royal _procureur-général_, dissatisfied with this, appealed from the
decision, not to the pope but to the Parlement or royal court. No
question more purely spiritual can well be conceived, and yet the
Parlement gravely entertained the appeal and asserted its jurisdiction
by confirming the decree of the Inquisition.[144]

This was ominous of the future, although the indefatigable Henri de
Chamay, apparently alarmed at the efforts successfully made by Philippe
de Valois to control and limit spiritual jurisdictions, procured from
that monarch, in November, 1329, a _Mandement_ confirming the privileges
of the Inquisition, placing all temporal nobles and officials afresh at
its disposal, and annulling all letters emanating from the royal court,
whether past or future, which should in any way impede inquisitors from
performing their functions in accordance with their commissions from the
Holy See. The evolution of the monarchy was proceeding too rapidly to be
checked. Henri de Chamay himself, in 1328, had officially qualified
himself as inquisitor, deputed, not by the pope, as had always been the
formula proudly employed, but by the king, and a judicial decision to
this effect followed soon after. It was Philippe’s settled policy to
enforce and extend the jurisdiction of the crown, and in pursuance of
this he sent Guillaume de Villars to Toulouse to reform the
encroachments of the ecclesiastical tribunals over the royal courts. In
1330 de Villars, in the performance of his duty, caused the registers of
the ecclesiastical courts to be submitted to him, after which he
demanded those of the Inquisition. When we remember how jealously these
were guarded, how arrogantly Nicholas d’Abbeville had refused a sight of
them to the bishops sent by Philippe le Bel, and how long Jean de
Pequigny hesitated before he interfered with Geoffroi d’Ablis, we can
measure the extent of the silent revolution which had occurred during
the interval in the relations between Church and State, by the fact that
de Villars, on being refused, coolly proceeded to break open the door of
the chamber in which the registers were kept. The inquisitor appealed,
and again it was not to the pope, but to the Parlement, and that body,
in condemning de Villars to pay the costs and damages, did so on the
ground that the Inquisition was a royal and not an ecclesiastical court.
This was a Pyrrhic victory; the State had absorbed the Inquisition. It
was the same when, in 1334, Philippe listened to the complaints of the
inquisitors that his seneschals disturbed them in their jurisdiction,
and gave orders that they should enjoy all their ancient privileges, for
these are treated as derived wholly from the royal power. Henceforth the
Inquisition could exist only on sufferance, subject to the supervision
of the Parlement, while the Captivity of Avignon, followed by the Great
Schism, constantly gave to the temporal powers increased authority in
spiritual matters.[145]

How completely the Inquisition was becoming an affair of state is
indicated by two incidents. In 1340, when the lieutenant of the king in
Languedoc, Louis of Poitou, Count of Die and Valentinois, was making his
entry into the good city of Toulouse, he found the gate closed.
Dismounting and kneeling bareheaded on a cushion, he took an oath on the
Gospels, in the hands of the inquisitor, to preserve the privileges of
the Inquisition, and then another oath to the consuls to maintain the
liberties of the city. Thus both institutions were on the same footing
and required the same illusory guarantee, the very suggestion of which
would have been laughed to scorn by Bernard Gui. Again, in 1368, when
the royal revenues were depleted by the English wars and the ravages of
the Free Companies, and were insufficient to pay the wages of the
Inquisitor of Carcassonne, Pierre Scatisse, the royal treasurer,
ordered a levy by the consuls of twenty-six livres tournois to complete
the payment. Confiscations had long since ceased to meet the
expenditures, but the inquisitor was a royal official and must be paid
by the city if not by the state.[146]

How thorough was the subjection of all ecclesiastical institutions, and
how fallen the Inquisition from its high estate, is manifested by an
occurrence in 1364, at a moment when the royal authority was at the
lowest ebb. King John had died a prisoner in London, April 8, and the
young Charles V. was not crowned until May 19, while his kingdom was
reduced almost to anarchy by foreign aggression and internal
dissensions. Yet, April 16, Marshal Arnaud d’Audeneham, Lieutenant du
Roi in Languedoc, convoked at Nîmes an assembly of the Three Estates
presided over by the Archbishop of Narbonne. One of the questions
discussed was a quarrel between the Archbishop of Toulouse and the
inquisitor whom he had prohibited from exercising his functions, saying
that the Inquisition had been established at the request of the province
of Languedoc, and that now it had become an injury. All the prelates,
except Aymeri, Bishop of Viviers, sided with the archbishop, while the
representatives of Toulouse asked to be admitted as parties to the suit
on the side of the inquisitor. No one seems to have doubted that the
marshal, as royal deputy, had full jurisdiction over the matter, and his
decision was against the archbishop.[147]

Even in Carcassonne, where the Dominicans had lorded it so imperiously,
all fear of them had disappeared so utterly that in 1354 a sturdy
blacksmith named Hugues erected a shop close to the church of the
Friars, and carried on his noisy avocation so vigorously as to interrupt
their services and interfere with their studies. Remonstrances and
threats were of no avail, and they were obliged to appeal, not to the
bishop or the inquisitor, but to the king, who graciously sent a
peremptory order to his seneschal to remove the smithy or to prevent
Hugues from working in it.[148]

Towards the end of the century some cases occurring in Reims illustrate
how completely the Inquisition was falling into abeyance throughout the
kingdom, and how the jurisdiction of the royal court of the Parlement
was accepted as supreme in spiritual matters. In 1385 there arose a
dispute between the magistrates of the city and the archbishop as to
jurisdiction over blasphemy, which was claimed by both. This was settled
by an agreement recognizing it as belonging to the archbishop, but
twenty years later the quarrel broke out afresh over the case of Drouet
Largèle, who was guilty of blasphemy savoring of heresy as to the
Passion and the Virgin. The matter was appealed to the Parlement, which
decided in favor of the archbishop, and no allusion throughout the whole
affair occurs as to any claim that the Inquisition might have to
interpose, showing that at this time it was practically disregarded. Yet
we chance to know that Reims was the seat of an Inquisition, for in 1419
Pierre Florée was inquisitor there, and preached, October 13, the
funeral sermon at the obsequies of Jean sans Peur of Burgundy, giving
great offence by urging Philippe le Bon not to avenge the murder of his
father. We see also the scruples of the Inquisition on the subject of
blasphemy in 1423 at Toulouse, where it had become the custom to submit
to the inquisitor the names of all successful candidates in municipal
elections in order to ascertain whether they were in any way suspect of
heresy. Among the capitouls elected in 1423 was a certain François
Albert, who was objected to by the acting inquisitor, Frère Bartolomé
Guiscard, on account of habitual use of the expletives _Tête-Dieu_ and
_Ventre-Dieu_, whereupon the citizens substituted Pierre de Sarlat.
Albert appealed to the Parlement, which approved of the action of the

Still more emphatic as to the supreme authority of the Parlement was the
case of Marie du Canech of Cambrai, to which I have already had occasion
to refer. For maintaining that when under oath she was not bound to tell
the truth to the prejudice of her honor, she was prosecuted for heresy
by the Bishop of Cambrai and Frère Nicholas de Péronne, styling himself
deputy of the inquisitor-general or Provincial of Paris. Being severely
mulcted, she appealed to the Archbishop of Reims, as the metropolitan,
and he issued inhibitory letters. Then the bishop and inquisitor
appealed from the archbishop to the Parlement. The matter was
elaborately argued on both sides, the archbishop alleging that there was
at that time no inquisitor in France, and drawing a number of subtle
distinctions. The Parlement had no hesitation in accepting jurisdiction
over this purely spiritual question. It paid no attention to the
cautious arguments of the archbishop, but decided broadly that the
bishop and inquisitor had no grounds for disobeying the citation of the
archbishop evoking the case to his own court, and it condemned them in
costs. Thus the ancient supremacy of the episcopal jurisdiction was
reasserted over that of the Inquisition.[150]

The Great Schism, followed by the councils of Constance and Basle, did
much to shake the papal power on which that of the Inquisition was
founded. The position of Charles VII. towards Rome was consistently
insubordinate, and the Pragmatic Sanction which he published in 1438
secured the independence of the Gallican Church, and strengthened the
jurisdiction of the Parlement. When Louis XI. abrogated it, in 1461, the
remonstrances of his Parlement form a singularly free-spoken indictment
of papal vices, and that body continued to treat the instrument as
practically in force, while Louis himself, by successive measures of
1463, 1470, 1472, 1474, 1475, and 1479, gradually re-established its
principles. Had not the Concordat of Francis I., in 1516, swept it away,
when he conspired with Leo X. to divide the spoils of the Church, it
would eventually have rendered France independent of Rome. Francis knew
so well the opposition which it would excite that he hesitated for a
year to submit the measure to his Parlement for registration, and the
Parlement deferred the registration for another year, till at last the
negotiator of the concordat, Cardinal Duprat, brought to bear sufficient
pressure to accomplish the object. During the discussion the University
had the boldness to protest publicly against it, and to lodge with the
Parlement an appeal to the next general council.[151]

During this period of antagonism to Rome the University of Paris had
contributed no little to the abasement of the Inquisition by supplanting
it as an investigator of doctrine and judge of heresy. Its ancient
renown, fully maintained by an uninterrupted succession of ardent and
learned teachers, gave it great authority. It was a national institution
of which clergy and laity alike might well be proud, and at one time it
appeared as though it might rival the Parlement in growing into one of
the recognized powers of the State. In the fearful anarchy which
accompanied the insanity of Charles VI. it boldly assumed a right to
speak on public affairs, and its interference was welcomed. In 1411 the
king, who chanced at the time to be in the hands of the Burgundians,
appealed to it to excommunicate the Armagnacs, and the University
zealously did so. In 1412 it presented a remonstrance to the king on the
subject of the financial disorders of the time and demanded a reform.
Supported by the Parisians, at its dictate the financiers and thieves
of the government, with the exception of the chancellor, were dismissed
in 1413, greatly to the discontent of the courtiers, who ridiculed the
theologians as bookworms; and in the same year it co-operated with the
Parlement in securing momentary peace between the angry factions of the
land. The thanks which the heir-apparent, the Duke of Guienne,
accompanied by the Dukes of Berri, Burgundy, Bavaria, and Bar, solemnly
rendered to the assembled Faculty, virtually recognized it as a part of
the State. But when, in 1415, it sent a deputation to remonstrate
against the oppression of the people through excessive taxation, the
Duke of Guienne, who was angry at the part taken by it, without
consulting the court, in degrading John XXIII. at the Council of
Constance, curtly told the spokesmen that they were interfering in
matters beyond their competence; and when the official orator attempted
to reply, the duke had him arrested on the spot and kept in prison for
several days.[152]

Though its temporary ambition to rival the Parlement in state affairs
was fortunately not gratified, in theology such a body as this was
supreme. It would naturally be called upon, either as a whole or by
delegates, to furnish the experts whose counsel was to guide bishop and
inquisitor in the decision of cases; and as the old heresies died out
and new ones were evolved, every deviation from orthodoxy came to be
submitted to it as a matter of course, when its decision was received as
final. These were for the most part scholastic subtleties to which I
shall recur hereafter, as well as to the great controversies over the
Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, and over Nominalism and Realism, in
which it took a distinguished part. Sometimes, however, the questions
were more practical. When some insolent wretch, in 1432, impudently told
Frère Pierre de Voie, the deputy-inquisitor of Evreux, that his
citations were simply abuses, the offended functionary, in place of
promptly clapping the recalcitrant into prison, plaintively referred the
case to the University, and had the satisfaction of receiving a solemn
decision that the words were audacious, presumptuous, scandalous, and
tending to rebellion (it did not say heretical), and that the utterer
was liable to punishment. Bernard Gui or Nicholas d’Abbeville would
have asked for no such warrant.[153]

To what an extent the University in time replaced the Inquisition in its
neglected and forgotten functions is shown in 1498, in the case of the
Observantine Franciscan, Jean Vitrier. In the restlessness and
insubordination which heralded the Reformation, this obscure friar
anticipated Luther even more than did John of Wesel, although in the
strictness of his asceticism he taught that a wife might better break
her marriage-vow than her fasts. In his preaching at Tournay he
counselled the people to drag the concubines and their priests from
their houses with shame and derision; he affirmed that it was a mortal
sin to listen to the masses of concubinary priests. Pardons and
indulgences were the offspring of hell: the faithful ought not to
purchase them, for they were not intended for the maintenance of
brothels. Even the intercession of the saints was not to be sought.
These were old heresies for which any inquisitor would promptly offer
the utterer the alternative of abjuration or the stake; but the prelates
and magistrates of Tournay referred the matter to the University, which
laboriously extracted from Vitrier’s sermons sixteen propositions for

Even more significant of the growing authority of the University and the
waning power of the Papacy was a decision rendered in 1502. Alexander
VI. had levied a tithe on the clergy of France, with the customary
excuse of prosecuting the war against the Turks. The clergy, whose
consent had not been asked, refused to pay. The pope rejoined by
excommunicating them, and they applied to the University to know whether
such a papal excommunication was valid, whether it was to be feared, and
whether they should consequently abstain from the performance of divine
service. On all these points the University replied in the negative,
unanimously and without hesitation. Had circumstances permitted the same
independence in Germany, a little more progress in this direction would
have rendered Luther superfluous.[155]

It is not to be supposed, however, that the Inquisition, though fallen
from its former dignity, had ceased to exist or to perform its
functions after a fashion. It was to the interest of the popes to
maintain it, and the position of inquisitor, though humble in comparison
with that which his predecessors enjoyed, was yet a source of influence,
and possibly of profit, which led to its being eagerly sought. In 1414
we find two contestants for the post at Toulouse, and in 1424 an
unseemly quarrel between two rivals at Carcassonne. The diocese of
Geneva was also the subject of contention embittered by the traditional
rivalry between the two Mendicant Orders. It will be remembered that in
1290 this, with other French cantons, was included by Nicholas IV. in
the inquisitorial province of Besançon, which was Dominican. Geneva
belonged, however, ecclesiastically to the metropolis of Vienne, which
was under the Franciscan Inquisition of Provence, and Gregory XI. so
treated it in 1375. When Pons Feugeyron was commissioned, in 1409,
Geneva was not mentioned in the enumeration of the dioceses under him;
but when his commission was renewed by Martin V., in 1418, it was
included, and he began to exercise his powers there. There at once arose
the threat of a most scandalous quarrel between the combative Orders;
the Dominicans appealed to Martin, and in 1419 he restored Geneva to
them. Yet in 1434, when Eugenius IV. again confirmed Pons Feugeyron’s
commission, the name of Geneva once more slipped in. The Dominicans must
again have successfully reclaimed it, for in 1472, when there was a
sudden resumption of inquisitorial activity under Sixtus IV., in
confirming Frère Jean Vaylette as Inquisitor of Provence, with the same
powers as Pons Feugeyron, Geneva was omitted in the list of his
jurisdictions, while the Dominicans, Victor Rufi and Claude Rufi, were
appointed respectively at Geneva and Lausanne; and in 1491 another
Dominican, François Granet, was commissioned at Geneva.[156]

Yet the position thus eagerly sought had no legitimate means of support.
In the terrible disorders of the times the royal stipends had been
withdrawn. Alexander V., in 1409, instructed his legate, the Cardinal of
S. Susanna, that some method must be devised of meeting the expenses of
the inquisitor, his associate, his notary, and his servant. He suggests
either levying three hundred gold florins on the Jews of Avignon; or
that each bishop shall defray the cost as the inquisitor moves from one
diocese to another; or that each bishop shall contribute ten florins
annually out of the legacies for pious uses. Which device was adopted
does not appear, but they all seem to have proved fruitless, for in 1418
Martin V. wrote to the Archbishop of Narbonne that he must find some
means of supplying the necessary expenses of the Inquisition. Under such
circumstances the attraction of the office may, perhaps, be discerned
from a petition, in this same year 1418, from the citizens of Avignon in
favor of the Jews. The protection afforded by the Avignonese popes to
this proscribed class had rendered the city a Jewish centre, and they
were found of much utility; but they were constantly molested by the
inquisitors, who instituted frivolous prosecutions against them,
doubtless not without profit. Martin listened kindly to the appeal, and
it proves the degradation of the Inquisition that he gave the Jews a
right to appoint an assessor who should sit with the inquisitor in all
cases in which they were concerned.[157]

Still the Inquisition was not wholly without evidence of activity in its
purposed sphere of duty. We shall see hereafter that Pierre d’Ailly,
Bishop of Cambrai, when, in 1411, he prosecuted the Men of Intelligence,
duly called in the inquisitor of the province, who was Dominican Prior
of St. Quentin in Vermandois, to join in the sentence. In 1430 we hear
of a number of heretics who had been burned at Lille by the
deputy-inquisitor and the Bishop of Tournay; and in 1431 Philippe le Bon
ordered his officials to execute all sentences pronounced by Brother
Heinrich Kaleyser, who had been appointed Inquisitor of Cambrai and
Lille by the Dominican Provincial of Germany--a manifest invasion of the
rights of his colleague of Paris, doubtless due to the political
complications of the times. This order of Philippe le Bon, however,
shows that the example of supervision set by the Parlement was not lost
on the feudatories, for the officials are only instructed to make
arrests when there has been a proper preliminary inquest, with
observance of all the forms of law. I shall have occasion hereafter to
speak of the part played by the Inquisition in the tragedy of Joan of
Arc, and need here only allude to the appointment, in 1431, by Eugenius
IV., of Frère Jean Graveran to be Inquisitor of Rouen, where he was
already exercising the functions of the office, and where he was
succeeded in 1433 by Frère Sébastien l’Abbé, who had been papal
penitentiary and chaplain--another evidence of the partition of France
during the disastrous English war. People were growing more careless
about excommunication than ever. About 1415, a number of ecclesiastics
of Limoges were prosecuted by the inquisitor, Jean du Puy, as suspect of
heresy for this cause; they appealed to the Council of Constance, and in
1418 the matter was referred back to the archbishop. Still the
indifference to excommunication grew, and in 1435 Eugenius IV.
instructed the Inquisitor of Carcassonne to prosecute all who remained
under the censure of the Church for several years without seeking

With the pacification of France and the final expulsion of the English,
Nicholas V. seems to have thought the occasion opportune for reviving
and establishing the Inquisition on a firmer and broader basis. A bull
of August 1, 1451, to Hugues le Noir, Inquisitor of France, defines his
jurisdiction as extending not only over the Kingdom of France, but also
over the Duchy of Aquitaine and all Gascony and Languedoc. Thus, with
the exception of the eastern provinces, the whole was consolidated into
one district, with its principal seat probably in Toulouse. The
jurisdiction of the inquisitor was likewise extended over all offences
that had hitherto been considered doubtful--blasphemy, sacrilege,
divination, even when not savoring of heresy, and unnatural crimes. He
was further released from the necessity of episcopal co-operation, and
was empowered to carry on all proceedings and render judgment without
calling the bishops into consultation. Two centuries earlier these
enormous powers would have rendered Hugues almost omnipotent, but now it
was too late. The Inquisition had sunk beyond resuscitation. In 1458 the
Franciscan Minister of Burgundy represented to Pius II. the deplorable
condition of the institution in the extensive territories confided to
his Order, comprising the great archiepiscopates of Lyons, Vienne,
Arles, Aix, Embrun, and Tarantaise, and covering both sides of the
Rhone and a considerable portion of Savoy. In the thirteenth century
Clement IV. had placed this region under the control of the Burgundian
Minister, but with the lapse of time his supervision had become nominal.
Ambitious friars had obtained directly from the popes commissions to act
as inquisitors in special districts, and therefore acknowledged no
authority but their own. Others had assumed the office without
appointment from any one. There was no power to correct their excesses;
scandals were numerous, the people were oppressed, and the Order exposed
to opprobrium. Pius hastened to put an end to these abuses by renewing
the obsolete authority of the minister, with full power of removal, even
of those who enjoyed papal commissions.[159]

The Inquisition was thus reorganized, but its time had passed. To so low
an ebb had it fallen that in this same year, 1458, Frère Bérard Tremoux,
Inquisitor of Lyons, who had aroused general hostility by the rigor with
which he exercised his office, was thrown in prison through the efforts
of the citizens, and it required the active interposition of Pius II.
and his legate, Cardinal Alano, to effect his release. The venality and
corruption of the papal curia, moreover, was so ineradicable that no
reform was possible in anything subject to its control. But three years
after Pius had placed the whole district under the Minister of Burgundy
we find him renewing the old abuses by a special appointment of Brother
Bartholomäus of Eger as Inquisitor of Grenoble. That such commissions
were sold, or conferred as a matter of favor, there can be no reasonable
doubt, and the appointees were turned loose upon their districts to
wring what miserable gains they could from the fears of the people. Only
this can explain a form of appointment which became common as
“inquisitor in the Kingdom of France,” “without prejudice to other
inquisitors authorized by us or by others”--a sort of letter-of-marque
to cruise at large and make what the appointees could from the faithful.
Similarly significant is the appointment of Frère Pierre Cordrat,
confessor of Jean, Duke of Bourbon, in 1478, to be Inquisitor of
Bourges, thus wholly disregarding the consolidation of the kingdom by
Nicholas V. It is hardly necessary to extend the list further.
Inquisitors were appointed by the popes in constant succession, either
for the kingdom of France or for special districts, as though the
institution were at the height of its power and activity. That something
was to be gained by all this there can be no question, but there is
little risk in assuming that the gainer was not religion.[160]

Several cases occurring about this period are interesting as
illustrations of the spread of the spirit of inquiry and independence,
and of the subordinate position to which the Inquisition had sunk. In
1459, at Lille, there was burned a heretic known as Alphonse of
Portugal, who led an austere life as an anchorite and frequented the
churches assiduously, but who declared that since Gregory the Great
there had been no true pope, and consequently no valid administration of
the sacraments. In the account which has reached us of his trial and
execution there is no allusion to the intervention of the Holy Office.
Still more significant is the case, in 1484, of Jean Laillier, a priest
in Paris, a theological licentiate, and an applicant for the doctorate
in theology. In his sermons he had been singularly free-spoken. He
denied the validity of the rule of celibacy; he quoted Wickliff as a
great doctor; he rejected the supremacy of Rome and the binding force of
tradition and decretal; John XXII., he said, had had no power to condemn
Jean de Poilly; so far from St. Francis occupying the vacant throne of
Lucifer in heaven, he was rather with Lucifer in hell; since the time of
Silvester the Holy See had been the church of avarice and of imperial
power, where canonization could be obtained for money. So weak had
become the traditional hold of the Church on the consciences of men that
this revolutionary preaching seems to have aroused no opposition, even
on the part of the Inquisition; but Laillier, not content with simple
toleration, applied to the University for the doctorate, and was refused
admission to the preliminary disputations unless he should purge
himself, undergo penance, and obtain the assent of the Holy See.
Laillier thereupon boldly applied to the Parlement, now by tacit assent
clothed with supreme jurisdiction in ecclesiastical matters, asking it
to compel the University to admit him. The Parlement entertained no
doubts as to its own competence, but decided the case in a manner not
looked for by the hardy priest. It ordered Louis, Bishop of Paris, in
conjunction with the inquisitor and four doctors selected by the
University, to prosecute Laillier to due punishment. The bishop and
inquisitor agreed to proceed separately and communicate their processes
to each other; but Laillier must have had powerful backers, for Bishop
Louis, without conferring with his colleague or the experts, allowed
Laillier to make a partial recantation and a public abjuration couched
in the most free and easy terms, absolved him, June 23, 1486, pronounced
him free from suspicion of heresy, restored him to his functions, and
declared him capable of promotion to all grades and honors. Frère Jean
Cossart, the inquisitor, who had been diligently collecting evidence of
many scandalous doctrines of Laillier’s and vainly communicating them to
the bishop, was forced to swallow this affront in silence, but the
University felt its honor engaged and was not inclined to submit.
November 6, 1486, it issued a formal protest against the action of the
bishop, appealed to the pope, and demanded “Apostoli.” Innocent VIII.
promptly came to the rescue. He annulled the decision of the bishop and
ordered the inquisitor, in conjunction with the Archbishop of Sens and
the Bishop of Meaux, to throw Laillier into prison, while they should
investigate the unrecanted heresies and send the papers to Rome for
decision. Very suggestive of the strong influences supporting Laillier
is the pope’s expression of fear lest the pressure brought to bear on
the University should have forced it to admit him to the doctorate; if
so, such action is pronounced void, and all engaged in the attempt are
ordered to desist under pain of incurring suspicion of heresy. It is not
a little singular that the Bishop of Meaux, who was thus selected to sit
in judgment on Laillier, was at this very time under censure by the
University for reviving the Donatist heresy of the insufficiency of the
sacraments in polluted hands--the Eucharist of a fornicating priest was
of no more account, he said, than the barking of a dog. Many an
unfortunate Waldensian had been burned for less than this, but the
inquisitor had not dared to hold him to account. Nor do we hear of his
intervention in the case of Jean Langlois, priest of St. Crispin, who,
when celebrating mass, June 3, 1491, horrified his flock by casting on
the floor and trampling the consecrated wine and host. On his arrest he
gave as his reason that the body and blood of Christ were not in the
elements, and as he stubbornly refused to recant, he expiated his error
at the stake. Similar was the fate of Aymon Picard, who, at the feast of
St. Louis in the Sainte-Chapelle, August 25, 1503, snatched the host
from the celebrant and cast it in pieces on the floor, and obstinately
declined to abjure. All this was significant of the time coming when the
Inquisition would be more necessary than ever.[161]

The present degradation which it shared with the rest of the Church in
the constantly growing supremacy of the State is manifested by a
commission issued in 1485, by Frère Antoine de Clède, appointing a vicar
to act for him in Rodez and Vabres. In this document he styles himself
Inquisitor of France, Aquitaine, Gascony, and Languedoc, deputed by the
Holy See and the Parlement. The two bodies are thus equal sources of
authority, and the appointment by the pope would have been insufficient
without the confirmation by the royal court. How contemptible, indeed,
the Inquisition had become, even in the eyes of ecclesiastics, is
brought instructively before us in a petty quarrel between the
Inquisitor Raymond Gozin and his Dominican brethren. When he succeeded
Frère Gaillard de la Roche, somewhere about 1516, he found that the
house of the Inquisition at Toulouse had been stripped of its furniture
and utensils by the friars of the Dominican convent. He made a
reclamation, and some of the articles were restored; but the friars
subsequently demanded them back, and on his refusal procured from the
General Master instructions to the vicar, under which the latter
proceeded to extremities with him, wholly disregarding his appeal to the
pope, though he finally, in 1520, succeeded in obtaining the
intervention of Leo X. Imagination could scarcely furnish a more
convincing proof of decadence than this exhibition of the successor of
Bernard de Caux and Bernard Gui vainly endeavoring to defend his kitchen
gear from the rapacious hands of his brethren.[162]

It is quite probable that this dispute was envenomed by the inevitable
jealousy between the main body of the Order and its puritan section
known as the Reformed Congregation. Of this latter Raymond Gozin was
vicar-general, and his anxiety to regain his furnishings was probably
due to the fact that he was altering the house of the Inquisition so as
to accommodate within it a Reformed convent. The vast buildings which it
had required in the plenitude of its power had become a world too wide
for its shrunken needs. The original home of the Dominican Order, before
the removal in 1230 through the liberality of Pons de Capdenier, it
contained a church with three altars, a refectory, cells (or prison),
chambers, guest-rooms, cloisters, and two gardens. In approving of the
proposed alterations, Leo X. stipulated that some kind of retiring-room
with convenient offices must still be reserved for the use of the
Inquisition. This epitomizes the history of the institution. Yet it had
by no means wholly lost its power of evil, for in 1521 Johann Bomm,
Dominican Prior of Poligny, and inquisitor at Besançon had the
satisfaction of despatching two lycanthropists, or wer-wolves.[163]

       *       *       *       *       *

The career of the Waldenses forms so interesting and well-defined an
episode in the history of persecution that I have hitherto omitted all
reference to that sect, in order to present a brief, continuous outline
of its relations with the Inquisition, which found in it, after the
disappearance of the Cathari, the only really important field of labor
in France.

Although by no means as numerous or as powerful in Languedoc as the
Cathari, the Waldenses formed an important heretical element. They were,
however, mostly confined to the humbler classes, and we hear of few
nobles belonging to the sect. In the sentences of Pierre Cella, rendered
in Querci in 1241 and 1242, we have abundant testimony as to their
numbers and activity. Thus, references occur to them--

    At Gourdon in      55 cases out of 219
    At Montcucq in     44   "    "  "   84
    At Sauveterre in    1 case   "  "    5
    At Belcayre in      3 cases out of   7
    At Montauban in   175   "   "  "  252
    At Moissac in       1 case  "  "  94
    At Montpezat in    no   "   "  "   22
    At Montaut in      no   "   "  "   23
    At Castelnau in     1   "   "  "   11

and although many of these are mere allusions to having seen them or had
dealings with them, the comparative frequency of the reference indicates
the places where their heresy was most flourishing. Thus, Montauban was
evidently its headquarters in the district, and at Gourdon and Montcucq
there were vigorous colonies.

They had a regular organization--schools for the young where their
doctrines were doubtless implanted in the children of orthodox parents;
cemeteries where their dead were buried; missionaries who traversed the
land diligently to spread the faith, and who customarily refused all
alms, save hospitality. A certain Pierre des Vaux is frequently referred
to as one of the most active and most beloved of these, regarded,
according to one of his disciples, as an angel of light. Public
preaching in the streets was constant, and numerous allusions are made
to disputations held between the Waldensian ministers and the Catharan
perfects. Still, the utmost good feeling existed between the two
persecuted sects. Men were found who confessed to believing in the
Waldenses and to performing acts of adoration to the Cathari--in the
common enmity to Rome any faith which was not orthodox was regarded as
good. The reputation of the Waldenses as skilful leeches was a powerful
aid in their missionary labors. They were constantly consulted in cases
of disease or injury, and almost without exception they refused payment
for their ministrations, save food. One woman confessed to giving forty
sols to a Catharan for medical services, while to Waldenses she gave
only wine and bread. We learn also that they heard confessions and
imposed penance; that they celebrated a sacramental supper in which
bread and fish were blessed and partaken of, and that bread which they
consecrated with the sign of the cross was regarded as holy by their
disciples. Notwithstanding the strength and organization of the sect,
the Waldenses were evidently looked upon by Pierre Cella with a less
unfavorable eye than the Cathari, and the penances imposed on them were
habitually lighter.[164]

From Lyons the Waldensian belief had spread to the North and East, as
well as to the South and West. It is a curious fact that while the
Cathari never succeeded in establishing themselves to any extent beyond
the Romance territories, the Waldenses were already, in 1192, so
numerous in Lorraine that Eudes, Bishop of Toul, in ordering them to be
captured and brought to him in chains for judgment, not only promises
remission of sins as a reward, but feels obliged to add that if, for
rendering this service, the faithful are driven away from their homes,
he will find them in food and clothing. In Franche Comté, John, Count of
Burgundy, bears emphatic testimony to their numbers in 1248, when he
solicited of Innocent IV. the introduction of the Inquisition in his
dominions, and its discontinuance in 1257 doubtless left them to
multiply in peace. In 1251 we find the Archbishop of Narbonne condemning
some female Waldenses to perpetual imprisonment. It was, however, in the
mountains of Auvergne and the Alpine and sub-Alpine regions stretching
between Geneva and the Mediterranean that they found the surest refuge.
While Pierre Cella was penancing those of Querci, the Archbishop of
Embrun was busy with their brethren of Freyssinières, Argentière, and
Val-Pute, which so long continued to be their strongholds. In 1251, when
Alphonse and Jeanne, on their accession, guaranteed at Beaucaire the
liberties of Avignon and the Comtat Venaissin, the Bishop-legate Zoen
earnestly urged them to destroy the Waldenses there. There were ample
laws on the municipal statute-books of Avignon and Arles for the
extermination of “heretics and Waldenses,” but the local magistracy
was slack in their enforcement and was obliged to swear to extirpate the
sectaries. The Waldenses were mostly simple mountain folk, with
possessions that offered no temptation for confiscation, and persecuting
energy was more profitable and more usefully directed against the richer
Cathari. We hear, indeed, that from 1271 to 1274 the zeal of Guillaume
de Cobardon, Seneschal of Carcassonne, urged the inquisitors to active
work against the Waldenses, resulting in numerous convictions, but among
the far more populous communities near the Rhone the Inquisition was not
introduced into the Comtat Venaissin until 1288, nor into Dauphiné until
1292, and in both cases we are told that it was caused by the alarming
spread of heresy. In 1288 the same increase is alluded to in the
provinces of Arles, Aix, and Embrun, when Nicholas IV. sent to the
nobles and magistrates there the laws of Frederic II., with orders for
their enforcement, and to the inquisitors a code of instructions for

About the same period there is a curious case of a priest named Jean
Philibert, who was sent from Burgundy into Gascony to track a fugitive
Waldensian. He followed his quarry as far as Ausch, where he found a
numerous community of the sectaries, holding regular assemblies and
preaching and performing their rites, although they attended the parish
churches to avert suspicion. Their evangelical piety so won upon him
that, after going home, he returned to Ausch and formally joined them.
He wandered back to Burgundy, where he fell under suspicion, and in 1298
he was brought before Gui de Reims, the Inquisitor of Besançon, when he
refused to take an oath and was consigned to prison. Here he abjured,
and on being liberated returned to the Waldenses of Gascony, was again
arrested, and brought before Bernard Gui in 1311, who finally burned him
in 1319 as a relapsed. In 1302 we hear of two Waldensian ministers
haunting the region near Castres, in the Albigeois, wandering around by
night and zealously propagating their doctrines. Still, in spite of
these evidences of activity, little effort at repression is visible at
this period. The Inquisition was crippled for a while by its contest
with Philippe le Bel and Clement V., and when it resumed unrestricted
operations, Pierre Autier and his Catharan disciples absorbed its
energies. Although the sentences of Bernard Gui at Toulouse commence in
1308, it is not until the _auto de fé_ of 1316 that any Waldenses appear
among its victims, when one was condemned to perpetual imprisonment and
one was burned as an unrepentant heretic. The _auto_ of 1319 appears to
have been a jail-delivery, for poor wretches appear in it whose
confessions date back to 1309, 1311, 1312, and 1315. On this occasion
eighteen Waldenses were condemned to pilgrimages with or without
crosses, twenty-six to perpetual prison, and three were burned. In the
_auto_ of 1321 a man and his wife who obstinately refused to abjure were
burned. In that of 1322 eight were sentenced to pilgrimages, of whom
five had crosses, two to prison, six dead bodies were exhumed and
burned, and there is an allusion to the brother of one of the prisoners
who had been burned at Avignon. This comprises the whole work of Bernard
Gui from 1308 to 1323, and does not indicate any very active
persecution. It is perhaps noteworthy that all of those punished in 1319
were from Ausch, while the popular name of “Burgundians,” by which the
Waldenses were known, indicates that the headquarters of the sect were
still in Franche Comté. In fact, an allusion to a certain Jean de
Lorraine as a successful missionary indicates that region as busy in
proselyting efforts, and there are not wanting facts to prove that the
Inquisition of Besançon was active during this period. In the _auto_ of
1322 many of the sufferers were refugees from Burgundy, and we learn
that they had a provincial named Girard, showing that the Waldensian
Church of that region had a regular organization and hierarchy.[166]

In his “_Practica_” Bernard Gui gives a clear and detailed statement
of the Waldensian belief as it existed at this time, the chief points of
which may be worth enumerating as affording us a definite view of the
development of the faith in its original seat after a century and a half
of persecution. There was no longer any self-deceit as to connection
with the Roman Church. Persecution had done its work, and the Waldenses
were permanently severed. Theirs was the true Church, and that of the
pope was but a house of lies, whose excommunication was not to be
regarded, and whose decrees were not to be obeyed. They had a complete
organization, consisting of bishops, priests, and deacons, and they held
in some large city one or two general chapters every year, in which
orders were conferred and measures for mission work were perfected. The
Waldensian orders, however, did not confer exclusive supernatural power.
Although they still believed in transubstantiation, the making of the
body and blood of Christ depended on the purity of the ministrant; a
sinner was impotent to effect it, while it could be done by any
righteous man or woman. It was the same with absolution: they held the
power of the keys direct from Christ, and heard confessions and imposed
penance. Their antisacerdotalism was strongly expressed in the
simplification of their faith. There was no purgatory, and consequently
masses for the dead or the invocation of the suffrages of the saints
were of no avail; the saints, in fact, neither heard nor helped man, and
the miracles performed in their name in the churches were fictitious.
The fasts and feasts prescribed in the calendar were not to be observed,
and the indulgences so lavishly sold were useless. As of old, oaths and
homicide were forbidden. Yet enough of the traditional ascetic
tendencies were preserved to lead to the existence of a monastic
fraternity whose members divested themselves of all individual property,
and promised chastity, with obedience to a superior. Bernard Gui refers,
with a brevity which shows how little importance he attached to them, to
stories about sexual abominations performed in nocturnal assemblies, and
he indicates the growth of popular superstition by a brief allusion to a
dog which appears in these gatherings and sprinkles the sectaries with
his tail.[167]

The non-resistance doctrines of the Waldenses rendered them, as a rule,
a comparatively easy prey, but human nature sometimes asserted itself,
and a sharp persecution carried on at this period by Frère Jacques
Bernard, Inquisitor of Provence, provoked a bloody reprisal. In 1321 he
sent two deputies--Frères Catalan Fabri and Pierre Paschal--to the
diocese of Valence to make inquisition there. Former raids had left the
people in an angry mood. Multitudes had been subjected to the
humiliation of crosses, and these and their friends vowed revenge on the
appearance of the new persecutors. A plot was rapidly formed to
assassinate the inquisitors at a village where they were to pass the
night. For some reason, however, they changed their plans, and passed on
to the Priory of Montoison. The conspirators followed them, broke down
the doors, and slew them. Strangely enough, the Prior of Montoison was
accused of complicity in the murder, and was arrested when the murderers
were seized. The bodies of the martyrs were solemnly buried in the
Franciscan convent at Valence, where they soon began to manifest their
sanctity in miracles, and they would have been canonized by John XXII.
had not the quarrel which soon afterwards sprang up between him and the
Franciscans rendered it impolitic for him to increase the number of
Franciscan saints.[168]

A few Waldenses appear in the prosecutions of Henri de Chamay of
Carcassonne in 1328 and 1329, and, from the occasional notices which
have reached us in the succeeding years, we may conclude that
persecution, more or less fitful, never wholly ceased; while, in spite
of this, the heresy kept constantly growing. After the disappearance of
Catharism, indeed, it was the only refuge for ordinary humanity when
dissatisfied with Rome. The Begghards were mystics whose speculations
were attractive only to a certain order of minds. The Spirituals and
Fraticelli were Franciscan ascetics. The Waldenses sought only to
restore Christianity to its simplicity; their doctrines could be
understood by the poor and illiterate, groaning under the burdens of
sacerdotalism, and they found constantly wider acceptance among the
people, in spite of all the efforts put forth by the waning power of the
Inquisition. Benedict XII., in 1335, summoned Humbert II., Dauphin of
Viennois, and Adhémar of Poitou to assist the inquisitors. Humbert
obeyed, and from 1336 to 1346 there were expeditions sent against them
which drove them from their homes and captured some of them. Of these a
portion abjured and the rest were burned; their possessions were
confiscated and the bones of the dead exhumed. The secular and
ecclesiastical officials of Embrun joined in these efforts, but they
had no permanent result. In Languedoc Frère Jean Dumoulin, Inquisitor of
Toulouse, in 1344 attacked them vigorously, but only succeeded in
scattering them throughout Béarn, Foix, and Aragon. In 1348 Clement VI.
again urged Humbert, who responded with strict orders to his officers to
aid the ecclesiastical authorities with what force might be necessary,
and this time we hear of twelve Waldenses brought to Embrun, and burned
on the square in front of the cathedral. When Dauphiné became a
possession of the crown the royal officials were equally ready to
assist. Letters of October 20, 1351, from the governor, order the
authorities of Briançon to give the inquisitor armed support in his
operations against the heretics of the Briançonnais, but this seems to
have been ineffective; and the next year Clement VI. appealed to the
Dauphin Charles, and to Louis and Joanna of Naples, to aid Frère Pierre
Dumont, the Inquisitor of Provence, and summoned prelates and
magistrates to co-operate in the good work. The only recorded result of
this was the penancing of seven Waldenses by Dumont in 1353. More
successful were the Christian labors of Guillaume de Bordes, Archbishop
of Embrun from 1352 to 1363, surnamed the Apostle of the Waldenses, who
tried the unusual expedient of kindness and persuasion. He personally
visited the mountain valleys, and had the satisfaction of winning over a
number of the heretics. With his death his methods were abandoned, and
Urban V., from 1363 to 1365, was earnest in calling upon the civil power
and in stimulating the zeal of the Provençal inquisitors, Frères Hugues
Cardilion and Jean Richard. The celebrated inquisitor François Borel now
appears upon the scene. Armed expeditions were sent into the mountains
which had considerable success. Many of the heretics were obstinate and
were burned, while others saved their lives by abjuration. Their pitiful
little properties were confiscated; one had a cow, another two cows and
clothes of white cloth. In the purse of another, more wealthy, were
found two florins--a booty which scarce proved profitable, for the wood
to burn him and a comrade cost sixty-two sols and six deniers. One woman
named Juven who was burned possessed a vineyard. The vintage was
gathered and the must stored in her cabin, when the wrathful neighbors
fired it at night and destroyed the product.[169]

All this was of no avail. When Gregory XI. ascended the pontifical
throne, in 1370, his attention was early directed to the deplorable
condition of the Church in Provence, Dauphiné, and the Lyonnais. The
whole region was full of Waldenses, and many nobles were now beginning
to embrace the heresy. The prelates were powerless or negligent, and the
Inquisition ineffective. He set to work vigorously, appointing
inquisitors and stimulating their zeal, but the whole system by this
time was so discredited that his labors were ineffectual. The royal
officials, so far from aiding the inquisitors, had no scruple in
impeding them. Unsafe places were assigned to them in which to conduct
their operations; they were forced to permit secular judges to act as
assessors with them; their proceedings were submitted for revision to
the secular courts, and even their prisoners were set at liberty without
consulting them. The secular officials refused to take oaths to purge
the land of heresy, and openly protected heretics, especially nobles,
when prosecutions were commenced against them.[170]

Gregory duly complained of this to Charles le Sage in 1373, but to
little purpose at first. The evil continued unabated, and in 1375 he
returned to the charge still more vigorously. No stone was left
unturned. Not only was the king requested to send a special deputy to
the infected district, but the pope wrote directly to the royal
lieutenant, Charles de Banville, reproaching him for his protection of
heretics, and threatening him if he did not mend his ways. Certain
nobles who had become conspicuous as favorers of heresy were
significantly reminded of the fate of Raymond of Toulouse; the prelates
were scolded and stimulated; Amedeo of Savoy was summoned to assist, and
the Tarantaise was added to the district of Provence that nothing might
interfere with the projected campaign. As the spread of heresy was
attributable to the lack of preachers, and to the neglect of prelates
and clergy in instructing their flocks, the inquisitor was empowered to
call in the services of Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites, and
Augustinians, to spread over the land and teach the people the truths of
religion. These multiplied efforts at length began to tell. Charles
issued orders to enforce the laws against heresy, and when Gregory sent
a special Apostolic Internuncio, Antonio, Bishop of Massa, to direct
operations, persecution began in earnest. Frère François Borel, the
Inquisitor of Provence, had long been struggling against the
indifference of the prelates and the hostility of the secular power. Now
that he was sure of efficient seconding be was like a hound slipped from
the leash. His forays against the miserable populations of
Freyssinières, l’Argentière, and Val-Pute (or Val-Louise) have conferred
on him a sinister reputation, unredeemed by the efficient aid which he
contributed to regaining the liberties of his native town of Gap.[171]

The immediate success which rewarded these efforts was so overwhelming
as to bring new cause for solicitude. The Bishop of Massa’s mission
commenced early in May, 1375, and already, by June 17, Gregory is
concerned about the housing and support of the crowds of wretches who
had been captured. In spite of numerous burnings of those who proved
obstinate, the prisons of the land were insufficient for the detention
of the captives, and Gregory at once ordered new and strong ones to be
built in Embrun, Avignon, and Vienne. To solve the financial
complications which immediately arose, the bishops, whose negligence was
accountable for the growth of heresy, were summoned within three months
to furnish four thousand gold florins to build the prisons, and eight
hundred florins per annum for five years for the support of the
prisoners. This they were allowed to take from the legacies for pious
uses, and the restitutions of wrongly-acquired funds, with a threat, if
they should demur, that they should be deprived of these sources of
income and be excommunicated besides. The bishops, however, were no more
amenable to such arguments than those of Languedoc had been in 1245,
and, after the three months had passed, Gregory answers, October 5, the
anxious inquiry of the Bishop of Massa as to how he shall feed his
prisoners, by telling him that it is the business of every bishop to
support those of his diocese, and that any one who refuses to do so is
to be coerced with excommunication and the secular arm. This was a mere
_brutum fulmen_, and in 1376 he endeavored to secure a share in the
confiscations, but King Charles refused to divide them, though in 1378
he at last agreed to give the inquisitors a yearly stipend for their own
support, similar to that paid to their brethren at Toulouse.[172]

All other devices being exhausted, Gregory at last had recourse to the
unfailing resource of the curia--an indulgence. There is something so
appallingly grotesque in tearing honest, industrious folk from their
homes by the thousand, in thrusting them into dungeons to rot and
starve, and then evading the cost of feeding them by presenting them to
the faithful as objects of charity, that the proclamation which Gregory
issued August 15, 1370, is perhaps the most shameless monument of a
shameless age--

     “To all the faithful in Christ: As the help of prisoners is
     counted among pious works, it befits the piety of the faithful to
     mercifully assist the incarcerated of all kinds who suffer from
     poverty. As we learn that our beloved son, the Inquisitor François
     Borelli, has imprisoned for safe-keeping or punishment many
     heretics and those defamed for heresy, who in consequence of their
     poverty cannot be sustained in prison unless the pious liberality
     of the faithful shall assist them as a work of charity; and as we
     wish that these prisoners shall not starve, but shall have time for
     repentance in the said prisons; now, in order that the faithful in
     Christ may through devotion lend a helping hand, we admonish, ask,
     and exhort you all, enjoining it on you in remission of your sins,
     that from the goods which God has given you, you bestow pious alms
     and grateful charity for the food of these prisoners, so that they
     may be sustained by your help, and you, through this and other good
     works inspired by God, may attain eternal blessedness!”[173]

Imagination refuses to picture the horrors of the economically
constructed jails where these unfortunates were crowded to wear out
their dreary lives, while their jailers vainly begged for the miserable
pittance that should prolong their agonies. Yet so far was Gregory from
being satisfied with victims in number far beyond his ability to keep,
that, December 28, 1375, he bitterly scolded the officials of Dauphiné
for the negligent manner in which they obeyed the king’s commands to aid
the inquisitors--a complaint which he reiterated May 18, 1376. From some
expressions in these letters it is permissible to assume that this whole
inhuman business had shocked even the dull sensibilities of that age of
violence. Yet in spite of all that had been accomplished the heretics
remained obstinate, and in 1377 Gregory indignantly chronicles their
increase, while reproaching the inquisitors with their slackness in
performing the duties for which they had been appointed.[174]

What effect on the future of the Waldenses a continuance of Gregory’s
remorseless energy would have wrought can only be matter of conjecture.
He died March 27, 1378, and the Great Schism which speedily followed
gave the heretics some relief, during which they continued to increase,
although in 1380 Clement VII. renewed the commission of Borel, whose
activity was unabated until 1393, and his victims were numbered by the
hundred. A good many conversions rewarded his labors, and the converts
were allowed to retain their property on payment of a certain sum of
money, as shown by a list made out in 1385. In 1393 he is said to have
burned a hundred and fifty at Grenoble in a single day. San Vicente
Ferrer was a missionary of a different stamp, and his self-devoted
labors for several years in the Waldensian valleys won over numerous
converts. His memory is still cherished there, and the village of
Puy-Saint-Vincent, with a chapel dedicated to him, shows that his kindly
ministrations were not altogether lost.[175]

The Waldenses by this time were substantially the only heretics with
whom the Church had to deal outside of Germany. The French version of
the _Schwabenspiegel_, or South German municipal code, made for the
Romande speaking provinces of the empire, is assignable to the closing
years of the century, and it attests the predominance of Waldensianism
in its chapter on heresy, by translating the _Käezer_ (Catharus) of the
original by _vaudois_. Even “Leschandus” (Childeric III.) is said to
have been dethroned by Pope Zachary because he was a protector of
vaudois. That at this period the Inquisition had become inoperative in
those regions where it had once been so busy is proved by the episcopal
tribunals being alone referred to as having cognizance of such
cases--the heretic is to be accused to his bishop, who is to have him
examined by experts.[176]

How completely the Waldenses dropped out of sight in the struggles of
the Great Schism is seen in a bull of Alexander V., in 1409, to Frère
Pons Feugeyron, whose enormous district extended from Marseilles to
Lyons and from Beaucaire to the Val d’Aosta. This comprehended the whole
district which François Borel and Vicente Ferrer found swarming with
heretics. The inquisitor is urged to use his utmost endeavors against
the schismatic followers of Benedict XIII. and Gregory XII., against the
increasing numbers of sorcerers, against apostate Jews and the Talmud,
but not a word is said about Waldenses. They seem to have been
completely forgotten.[177]

After the Church had reorganized itself at the Council of Constance it
had leisure to look after the interests of the faith, although its
energies were mostly monopolized by the Hussite troubles. In 1417 we
hear of Catharine Sauve, an anchorite, burned at Montpellier for
Waldensian doctrines by the deputy-inquisitor, Frère Raymond Cabasse,
assisted by the Bishop of Maguelonne. The absence of persecution had by
no means been caused by a diminution in the number of heretics. In 1432
the Council of Bourges complained that the Waldenses of Dauphiné had
taxed themselves to send money to the Hussites, whom they recognized as
brethren; and there were plenty of them to be found by any one who took
the trouble to look after them. On August 23, of this same year, we have
a letter from Frère Pierre Fabri, Inquisitor of Embrun, to the Council
of Basle, excusing himself for not immediately obeying a summons to
attend it on the ground of his indescribable poverty, and of his
preoccupations in persecuting the Waldenses. In spite of the great
executions which he had already made, he describes them as flourishing
as numerously as ever in the valleys of Freyssinières, Argentière, and
Pute, which had been almost depopulated by the ferocious raids of
François Borel. He now has in his dungeons of Embrun and Briançon six
relapsed heretics, who have revealed to him the names of more than five
hundred others whom he is about to seize, and whose trials will be a
work of time, but as soon as he can absent himself without prejudice to
the faith his first duty will be to attend the council. Evidently the
harvest was abundant and the reapers were few.[178]

In 1441 the Inquisitor of Provence, Jean Voyle, made some effort at
persecution, but apparently with little result, and the Waldensian
churches seem to have enjoyed a long respite, for the terrible episode
of the so-called Vaudois of Arras, in 1460, as we shall see hereafter,
was merely a delirium of witchcraft. In France, so completely had the
Waldenses monopolized the field of misbelief in the public mind that
sorcery became popularly known as _vauderie_ and witches as _vaudoises_.
Accordingly, when, in 1465, at Lille, five “Poor Men of Lyons” were
tried, and four of them recanted and one was burned, it was necessary to
find some other name for them, and they were designated as

It is not until 1475 that we find the inquisitors again at work in their
old hunting-ground among the valleys around the headwaters of the
Durance. The Waldenses had quietly multiplied again. They held their
conventicles undisturbed, they dared openly to preach their abhorred
faith, and their missionary zeal was rewarded with abundant conversions.
Worse than all, when the bishops and inquisitors sought to repress them
in the accustomed manner, they appealed to the royal court, which was so
untrue to its duty that it granted them letters of protection and they
waxed more insolent than ever. In vain Sixtus IV. sent special
commissions armed with full powers to put an end to this disgraceful
state of things. Men at this time in France recked little of papal
authority, and the commissioners found themselves scorned. Sixtus,
therefore, July 1, 1475, addressed an earnest remonstrance to Louis XI.
The king was surely ignorant of the acts of his representatives; he
would hasten to disavow them and lend the whole power of the State, as
of old, to the support of the Inquisition.[180]

The correspondence which ensued would doubtless be interesting reading
if it were accessible. Its purport, however, can readily be discerned in
the Ordonnance of May 18, 1478, which marks in the most emphatic manner
the supremacy which the State had obtained over the Church. The king
assumed that his subjects of Dauphiné were all good Catholics. In a
studied tone of contemptuous insolence he alludes to the old Mendicants
(_vieux mendiens_) styling themselves inquisitors, who vex the faithful
with accusations of heresy and harass them with prosecutions in the
royal and ecclesiastical courts for purposes of extortion or to secure
the confiscation of their property. He therefore forbids his officers to
aid in making such confiscations, decrees that the heirs shall be
reinstated in all cases that have occurred, and in order to put a stop
to the frauds and abuses of the inquisitors he strictly enjoins that for
the future they shall not be permitted to prosecute the inhabitants in
any manner.[181]

Such was the outcome of the efforts which, for two hundred and fifty
years, the Church had unremittingly made to obtain despotic control over
the human mind. For far less than such defiance it had destroyed Raymond
of Toulouse and the civilization of Languedoc. It had built up the
monarchy with the spoils of heresy, and now the monarchy cuffed it and
bade it bury its Inquisition out of the sight of decent men. This put an
end for a time to the labors of the Inquisition against the Waldenses of
Dauphiné, but the troubles of the latter were by no means over. The
death of Louis, in 1483, deprived them of their protector, and the
Italian policy of Charles VIII. rendered him less indifferent to the
wishes of the Holy See. At the request of the Archbishop of Embrun,
Innocent VIII. ordered the persecutions renewed. The Franciscan
Inquisitor, Jean Veyleti, whose excesses had caused the appeal to the
throne in 1475, was soon again at work, and had the satisfaction of
burning both consuls of Freyssinières. Though the Waldenses had
represented themselves to Louis XI. as faithful Catholics, the ancient
errors were readily brought to light by the efficient means of torture.
Though they believed in transubstantiation, they denied that it could be
effected by sinful priests. Their _barbes_, or pastors, were ordained,
and administered absolution after confession, but the pope, the bishops,
and the priests had lost that power. They denied the existence of
purgatory, the utility of prayers for the dead, the intercession of
saints, the power of the Virgin, and the obligation of keeping any
feast-days save Sunday. Wearied with their stubbornness, the archbishop,
in June and July, 1486, summoned them either to leave the country or to
come forward and submit, and as they did neither he excommunicated them.
This was equally ineffective, and he appealed again to Innocent VIII.,
who resolved to end the heresy with a decisive blow. Accordingly, in
1488, a crusade on a large scale was organized in both Dauphiné and
Savoy. The papal commissioner, Alberto de’ Capitanei, obtained the
assistance of the Parlement of Grenoble, and a force was raised under
the command of Hugues de La Palu, Comte de Vanax, to attack them on
every side. The attack was delayed by legal formalities, during which
they were urged to submission, but refused, saying that their faith was
pure and that they would die rather than abandon it. At length, in
March, 1489, the crusaders advanced. The valley of Pragelato was the
first assailed, and, after a few days, was reduced to the alternative of
death or abjuration, when fifteen obstinate heretics were burned. In Val
Cluson and Freyssinières the resistance was more stubborn and there was
considerable carnage, which so frightened the inhabitants of Argentière
that they submitted peaceably. In Val Louise the people took refuge in
the cavern of Aigue Fraide, which they imagined inaccessible, but La
Palu succeeded in reaching it, and built fires in the mouth, suffocating
the unhappy refugees. This, and the confiscations which followed,
divided between Charles VIII. and the Archbishop of Embrun, gave a fatal
blow to Waldensianism in the valleys. To prevent its resuscitation the
legate left behind him François Ploireri as Inquisitor of Provence, who
continued to harass the people with citations and pronounced
condemnations for contumacy, burning an occasional _barbe_ and
confiscating the property of relapsed and hardened heretics.[182]

With a new king, in the person of Louis XII., there came a new phase in
the affairs of the Waldenses. A conference was held in Paris before the
royal chancellor, where envoys from Freyssinières met Rostain, the new
Archbishop of Embrun, and deputies of the Parlement of Grenoble. It was
resolved to send to the spot papal and royal commissioners, with power
to determine the status of the so-called heretics. They went to
Freyssinières and examined witnesses, who satisfied them that the
population were good Catholics, in spite of the urgent assertions of the
archbishop that they were notorious heretics. All the excommunications
were removed, which put an end to the prosecutions. On October 12, 1502,
Louis XII. confirmed the decision, and Alexander VI., to whose son,
Cæsar Borgia, Louis had given the Duchy of Valentinois, embracing the
territory in question, was not disposed to run counter to the royal
wishes. The Waldenses were, however, unable to loosen the grip of the
Archbishop of Embrun on the property which he had confiscated, in spite
of positive orders for its restoration from the king, but at least they
were allowed, under the guise of Catholicism, to worship God after their
own fashion, until the crowding pressure of the Reformation forced them
to a merger with the Calvinists. In the Briançonnais, in spite of
occasional burnings, heresy continued to spread until, in 1514, Antoine
d’Estaing, Bishop of Angoulême, was sent thither, when the measures he
adopted, vigorously enforced by the secular authorities, put an end to
it in a few years.[183]



The kingdom of Aragon, stretching across both sides of the Pyrenees,
with a population kindred in blood and speech to that of Mediterranean
France, was particularly liable to inroads of heresy from the latter.
The Counts of Barcelona had been Carlovingian vassals, and even owned a
shadowy allegiance to the first Capetians. We have seen how ready were
Pedro II. and his successors to aid in resisting Frankish encroachments,
even at the cost of encouraging heresy, and it was inevitable that
schismatic missions should be established in populous centres such as
Barcelona, and that heretics, when hard-pressed, should seek refuge in
the mountains of Cerdaña and Urgel. In spite of this, however, heresy
never obtained to the west of the Pyrenees the foothold which it enjoyed
to the east. Its manifestations there were only spasmodic, and were
suppressed with effort comparatively slender.

It is somewhat remarkable that we hear nothing specifically of the
Cathari in Aragon proper. Matthew Paris, indeed, tells a wild tale of
how, in 1234, they were so numerous in the parts of Spain that they
decreed the abrogation of Christianity, and raised a large army with
which they burned churches and spared neither age nor sex, until Gregory
IX. ordered a crusade against them throughout western Europe, when in a
stricken field they were all cut off to a man; but this may safely be
set down to the imagination of some pilgrim returning from Compostella
and desiring to repay a night’s hospitality at St. Alban’s. In the
enumeration of Rainerio Saccone, about 1250, there is no mention of any
Catharan organization west of the Pyrenees. That many Cathari existed in
Aragon there can be no doubt, but they are never described as such, and
the only heretics of whom we hear by name are _los encabats_--the
Insabbatati or Waldenses. It will be remembered that it was against
these that the savage edicts of Alonso II. and Pedro II. were directed,
towards the close of the twelfth century.[184]

After this, for a while, persecution seems to have slept. The sympathies
and ambition of King Pedro were enlisted with Raymond of Toulouse, and
after his fall at Muret, during the minority of Jayme I., the Aragonese
probably awaited the results of the Albigensian war with feelings
enlisted in favor of their race rather than of orthodoxy. As it drew to
a close, however, Don Jayme, in 1226, issued an edict prohibiting all
heretics from entering his kingdom, doubtless moved thereunto by the
numbers who sought escape from the crusade of Louis VIII., and he
followed this, in 1228, with another, depriving heretics, with their
receivers, fautors, and defenders, of the public peace. The next step,
we are told by the chroniclers of the Inquisition, was taken in
consequence of the urgency of Raymond of Pennaforte, the Dominican
confessor of the young king, who prevailed on him to obtain from Gregory
IX. inquisitors to purge his land. This is based on the bull
_Declinante_, addressed, May 26, 1232, to Esparrago, Archbishop of
Tarragona, and his suffragans, instructing them to make inquest in their
dioceses after heretics, either personally or by Dominicans or other
fitting persons, and to punish such as might be found, according to the
statutes recently issued by him and by Annibaldo, Senator of Rome. This
doubtless gave an impulse to what followed, but as yet there was no
thought of a papal or Dominican Inquisition, or of adopting foreign
legislation. In the following year, 1233, Don Jayme issued from
Tarragona, with the advice of his assembled prelates, a statute on the
subject, showing that the matter was regarded as pertaining to the State
rather than to the Church. Seigneurs who protected heretics in their
lands forfeited them to the lord, or, if allodial, to the king. Houses
of heretics, if allodial, were to be torn down; if held in fief,
forfeited to the lord. All defamed or suspected of heresy were declared
ineligible to office. That the innocent might not suffer with the
guilty, no one was to be punished as a heretic or believer except by his
bishop or such ecclesiastic as had authority to determine his guilt.
Bishops were ordered, when it might seem expedient to them in places
suspected of heresy, to appoint a priest or clerk, while the king or his
bailli would appoint two or three laymen, whose duty it should be to
investigate heretics, and, taking precautions against their escape, to
report them to the bishop or to the royal officials, or to the lord of
the place. In this incongruous mixture of clerical and lay elements
there may, it is true, be discovered the germ of an Inquisition, but one
of a character very different from that which was at this time taking
shape at Toulouse. The subordinate position of these so-called
inquisitors is seen in the provision that any negligence in the
performance of their functions was punishable, in the case of a clerk,
by the loss of his benefice, in that of a layman, by a pecuniary

To what extent this crude expedient was put in practice we have no means
of knowing, but probably some attempts were made which only proved its
inefficiency. Esparrago died soon afterwards and was succeeded in the
archiepiscopal seat of Tarragona by Guillen Mongriu, whose vigorous and
martial temperament was illustrated by his conquest of the island of
Iviza. Mongriu speedily found that the domestic Inquisition would not
work, and applied for the solution of some doubts to Gregory, who sent
him, April 30, 1235, a code of instructions drawn up by Raymond of
Pennaforte. About this time we find the first record of active work in
persecution, which illustrates the absence of all formal inquisitorial
procedure. Robert, Count of Rosellon, was one of the great feudatories
of the crown of Aragon. He seems to have been involved, as most nobles
were, in some disputes as to fiefs and tithes with the Bishop of Elne,
whose diocese was in his territories. The bishop accused him of being
the chief of the heretics of the region and of using his castles as a
refuge for them. All this was very likely true--at least the bishop had
no difficulty in finding witnesses to prove it, when Robert obediently
abjured, but subsequently relapsed. Don Jayme accordingly had him
arrested and imprisoned, but Robert managed to escape and shut himself
in one of his inaccessible mountain strongholds. His position, however,
was desperate, and his lands liable to confiscation; he therefore
expressed to Gregory IX. his desire to return to the bosom of the
Church, and offered to serve with his followers against the Saracen as
long as the pope might designate. Gregory therefore wrote, February 8,
1237, to Raymond of Pennaforte, that if the count would for three years
with his subjects assist in the conquest of Valencia, and give
sufficient security that in case of relapse his territories should be
forfeited to the crown, he could be absolved. On hearing this the good
bishop hastened to the papal court and declared that if Robert was
absolved he and his witnesses would be exposed to the imminent peril of
death, and that heresy would triumph in his diocese; but, on receiving
assurances that his fiefs and tithes would be taken care of, he quieted
down and offered no further opposition.[186]

Under the impulsion of Gregory and of Raymond of Pennaforte, Dominican
inquisitors had at last been resorted to, and in this year, 1237, we
first become cognizant of them. In right of his wife Ermessende, Roger
Bernard the Great of Foix was Vizconde of Castelbo, a fief held of the
Bishop of Urgel, with whom he had had a bitter war. He gave Castelbo to
his son Roger, who, by the advice of his father, in 1237, allowed the
Inquisition free scope there, placing the castle in the hands of Ramon
Fulco, Vizconde of Cardona, in the name of the Archbishop of Tarragona
and the bishops assembled at the Council of Lerida. That council
thereupon appointed a number of inquisitors, including Dominicans and
Franciscans, who made a descent on Castelbo. It had long been noted as a
nest of Catharans. In 1225, under the protection of Arnaldo, then lord
of the place, perfected heretics publicly preached their doctrines
there. In 1234 we hear of a heretic of Mirepoix going thither to receive
the _consolamentum_ on his death-bed. The inquisitors, therefore, had no
difficulty in finding victims. They ordered two houses to be destroyed,
exhumed and burned the bones of eighteen persons, condemned as heretics,
and carried off as prisoners some forty-five men and women, condemned
fifteen who fled, and were undecided about sundry others. Still, the
Bishop of Urgel was not satisfied, and he gratified his rancor by
condemning and excommunicating Roger Bernard as a defender of heretics,
and it was not until 1240 that the latter, through the intervention of
the Archbishop of Tarragona, and by submitting, abjuring heresy, and
swearing to perform any penance assigned to him, procured from the
bishop absolution and a certificate that he recognized him “_per bon
et per leyal e per Catholich_.”[187]

In 1238 the Inquisition of Aragon may be said to be founded. In April of
that year Gregory IX. wrote to the Franciscan Minister and Dominican
Prior of Aragon deploring the spread of heresy through the whole
kingdom, so that heretics no longer seek secrecy, but openly combat the
Church, to the destruction of its liberties; and though this may be an
exaggeration, we know from a confession before the Inquisition of
Toulouse that there were enough scattered through the land to afford
shelter to the wandering Catharan missionaries. Gregory, therefore,
placed in the hands of the Mendicants the sword of the Word of God,
which was not to be restrained from blood. They were instructed to make
diligent inquisition against heresy and its abettors, proceeding in
accordance with the statutes which he had issued, and calling in when
necessary the aid of the secular arm. At the same time he made a similar
provision for Navarre, which was likewise said to be swarming with
heretics, by commissioning as inquisitors the Franciscan Guardian of
Pamplona and the Dominican Pedro de Leodegaria. As an independent
institution the Inquisition of Navarre seems never to have advanced
beyond an embryonic condition. In 1246 we find Innocent IV. writing to
the Franciscan Minister there to publish that Grimaldo de la Mota, a
citizen of Pamplona, is not to be aspersed as a heretic because while in
Lombardy he had eaten and drunk with suspected persons, but this is the
only evidence of vitality that I have met with, and Navarre was
subsequently incorporated into the Inquisition of Aragon.[188]

In Aragon the institution gradually took shape. Berenger de Palau,
Bishop of Barcelona, was busily engaged in organizing it throughout his
diocese at the time of his death in 1241, and the vicar, who replaced
him while the see was vacant, completed it. In 1242 Pedro Arbalate, who
had succeeded Guillen Mongriu as archbishop, with the assistance of
Raymond of Pennaforte, held the Council of Tarragona to settle the
details of procedure. Under the guidance of so eminent a canonist, the
code drawn up by the council showed a thorough knowledge of the
principles guiding the Church in its dealings with heretics, and long
continued to be referred to as an authority not only in Spain, but in
France. At the same time its careful definitions, which render it
especially interesting to us, indicate that it was prepared for the
instruction of a Church which as yet practically knew nothing of the
principles of persecution firmly established elsewhere. It was probably
under the impulse derived from these movements that active persecution
was resumed at Castelbo, which does not seem to have been purified by
the raid of 1237. This time the heretics were not as patient as before,
and resorted to poison, with which they succeeded in taking off Fray
Ponce de Blanes, or de Espira, the inquisitor, who had made himself
peculiarly obnoxious by his vigorous pursuit of heresy for several
years. This aroused all the martial instincts of the retired archbishop,
Guillen Mongriu, who assembled some troops, besieged and took the
castle, burned many of the heretics, and imprisoned the rest for life.
An organized effort was made to extend the Inquisition throughout the
kingdom, and the parish priests were individually summoned to lend it
all the aid in their power. Urgel seems to have been the headquarters of
the sectaries, for subsequently we hear of their sharp persecution there
by the Dominican inquisitor, Bernardo Travesser, and of his martyrdom by
them. As usual, both he and Ponce de Blanes shone forth in miracles, and
have remained an object of worship in the Church of Urgel, though in
1262 the latter was translated to Montpellier, where he lies
magnificently entombed.[189]

Still, the progress of organization seems to have been exceedingly slow.
In 1244 a case decided by Innocent IV. shows a complete absence of any
effective system. The Bishop of Elne and a Dominican friar, acting as
inquisitors, had condemned Ramon de Malleolis and Helena his wife as
heretics. By some means they succeeded in appealing to Gregory IX., who
referred the matter to the Archdeacon of Besalu and the Sacristan of
Girona. These acquitted the culprits and restored them to their
possessions; but the case was carried back to Rome, and Innocent finally
confirmed the first sentence of conviction. Again, in 1248, a letter
from Innocent IV. to the Bishop of Lerida, instructing him as to the
treatment in his diocese of heretics who voluntarily return to the
Church, presupposes the absence of inquisitors and absolute ignorance as
to the fundamental principles in force. The power conferred the same
year on the Dominican Provincial of Spain to appoint inquisitors seems
to have remained unused. The efforts of Archbishop Mongriu and Raymond
of Pennaforte had spent themselves apparently without permanent results.
King Jayme grew dissatisfied, and, in 1254, urgently demanded a fresh
effort of Innocent IV. This time the pope concluded, at Jayme’s
suggestion, to place the matter entirely in Dominican hands; but so
little had been done in the way of general organization that he confided
the choice of inquisitors to the priors of Barcelona, Lerida, Perpignan,
and Elne, each one to act within his own diocese, unless, indeed, there
are inquisitors already in function under papal commissions--a clause
which shows the confusion existing at the time. Innocent further felt it
necessary to report this action to the Archbishops of Tarragona and
Narbonne, and to call upon them to assist the new appointees. This
device does not seem to have worked satisfactorily. At that time the
whole peninsula constituted but one Dominican province, and, in 1262,
Urban IV. again adopted definitely the plan, in general use elsewhere,
of empowering the provincial to appoint the inquisitors--now limited to
two. A few days before he had sent to those of Aragon a bull defining
their powers and procedure, and a copy of this was enclosed to the
provincial for his guidance. This long remained the basis of
organization; but after the division of the province into two, by the
General Chapter of Cologne in 1301, the Aragonese chafed under their
subordination to the Provincial of Spain, whose territories consisted
only of Castile, Leon, and Portugal. The struggle was protracted, but
the Inquisition of Aragon at last achieved independence in 1351, when
Fray Nicholas Roselli, the Provincial of Aragon, obtained from Clement
VI. the power of appointing and removing the inquisitors of the

Meanwhile the inquisitors had not been inactive. Fray Pedro de Cadreyta
rendered himself especially conspicuous, and as usual Urgel is the
prominent scene of activity. In conjunction with his colleague, Fray
Pedro de Tonenes, and Arnaldo, Bishop of Barcelona, he rendered final
judgment, January 11, 1257, against the memory of Ramon, Count of Urgel,
as a relapsed heretic who had abjured before the Bishop of Urgel, and
whose bones were to be exhumed; but, with unusual lenity, the widow,
Timborosa, and the son, Guillen, were admitted to reconciliation and not
deprived of their estates. Twelve years later, in 1269, we find
Cadreyta, together with another colleague, Fray Guillen de Colonico, and
Abril, Bishop of Urgel, condemning the memory of Arnaldo, Vizconde of
Castelbo, and of his daughter Ermessende, whom we know as the heretic
wife of Roger Bernard the Great of Foix. They had both been dead more
than thirty years, and her grandson, Roger Bernard III. of Foix, who had
inherited the Vizcondado of Castelbo, was duly cited to defend his
ancestors; but if he made the attempt, it was vain, and their bones were
ordered to be exhumed. It is not likely that these sturdy champions of
the faith confined their attention to the dead, though the only
execution we happen to hear of at this period is that of Berenguer de
Amoros, burned in 1263. That the living, indeed, were objects of fierce
persecution is rendered more than probable by the martyrdom of Cadreyta,
who was stoned to death by the exasperated populace of Urgel, and who
thus furnished another saint for local cult.[191]

During the remainder of the century we hear little more of the
Inquisition of Aragon, but the action of the Council of Tarragona, in
1291, would seem to show that it was neither active nor much respected.
Otherwise the council would scarce have felt called upon to order the
punishment of heretics who deny a future existence, and, further, that
all detractors of the Catholic faith ought to be punished as they
deserve, to teach them reverence and fear. Still more significant is the
injunction on parish priests to receive kindly and aid efficiently the
beloved Dominican inquisitors, who are laboring for the extirpation of

With the opening of the fourteenth century there would appear to be an
increase of vigor. In 1302 Fray Bernardo celebrated several _autos de
fé_, in which a number of heretics were abandoned to the secular arm. In
1304 Fray Domingo Peregrino had an _auto_ in which we are told that
those who were not burned were banished, with the assent of King Jayme
II.--one of the rare instances of this punishment in the annals of the
Inquisition. In 1314 Fray Bernardo Puigcercos was so fortunate as to
discover a number of heretics, of whom he burned some and exiled others.
To Juan de Longerio, in 1317, belongs the doubtful honor of condemning
the works of Arnaldo de Vilanova. The names of Arnaldo Burguete, Guillen
de Costa, and Leonardo de Puycerda have also reached us, as successful
inquisitors, but their recorded labors were principally directed against
the Spiritual Franciscans, and will be more particularly noted
hereafter. The Aragonese seem not to have relished the methods of the
Inquisition, for in 1325 the Cortes, with the assent of King Jayme II.,
prohibited for the future the use of the inquisitorial process and of
torture, as violations of the Fueros. Whether or not this was intended
to apply to the ecclesiastical as well as to the secular courts it is
impossible now to tell, but, if it were, it had no permanent result, as
we learn from the detailed instructions of Eymerich fifty years later.
About the middle of the century, the merits of the Inquisitor Nicholas
Roselli earned him the cardinalate. It is true that when the energetic
action of the Inquisitor Jean Dumoulin, in 1344, drove the Waldenses
from Toulouse to seek refuge beyond the Pyrenees, Clement VI. wrote
earnestly to the kings and prelates of Aragon and Navarre to aid the
Inquisition in destroying the fugitives, but there is no trace of any
corresponding result.[193]

To Roselli, however, belongs the credit of raising a question which
inflamed to a white heat the traditional antagonism of the two great
Mendicant Orders. It is worth brief attention as an illustration of the
nicety to which doctrinal theology had attained under the combined
influence of scholastic subtlety in raising questions, and inquisitorial
enforcement of implicit obedience in the minutest articles of faith. In
1351 the Franciscan Guardian of Barcelona, in a public sermon, stated
that the blood shed by Christ in the Passion lost its divinity, was
sundered from the Logos, and remained on earth. The question was a novel
one and a trifle difficult of demonstration, but its raising gave
Roselli a chance to inflict a blow on the hated Franciscans, and he
referred it to Rome. The answer met his most ardent anticipations. The
Cardinal of Sabina, by order of Clement VI., wrote that the pope had
heard the proposition with horror; he had convened an assembly of
theologians in which he himself argued against it, when it was
condemned, and the inquisitors everywhere were ordered to proceed
against all audacious enough to uphold it. Roselli’s triumph was
complete, and the unfortunate guardian was obliged to retract his
speculations in the pulpit where he had promulgated them. The
Franciscans were restless under this rebuff, which they construed as
directed against their Order. In spite of the papal decision the
question remained an open one in the schools, where it was eagerly
debated on both sides. The Franciscans argued, with provoking
reasonableness, that the blood of Christ might well be believed to
remain on earth, seeing that the foreskin severed in the Circumcision
was preserved in the Lateran Church and reverenced as a relic under the
very eyes of pope and cardinal, and that portions of the blood and water
which flowed in the Crucifixion were exhibited to the faithful at
Mantua, Bruges, and elsewhere. After the lapse of a century, the
Franciscan, Jean Bretonelle, professor of theology in the University of
Paris, in 1448 brought the matter before the faculty, stating that it
was causing discussion at Rochelle and other places. A commission of
theologians was appointed, which, after due debate, rendered a solemn
decision that it was not repugnant to the faith to believe that the
blood shed at the Passion remained on earth. Thus encouraged, the
Franciscans grew bolder.

The Observantine Franciscan, Giacomo da Monteprandone, better known as
della Marca, was one of the most prominent ecclesiastics of the
fifteenth century. His matchless eloquence, his rigid austerity, his
superhuman vigor, and his unquenchable zeal for the extermination of
heresy well earned the beatification conferred on him after death; and
since 1417 he had been known as a hammer of heretics. He held a
commission as universal inquisitor which clothed him with power
throughout Christendom, and the heretics in every corner of Italy, in
Bohemia, Hungary, Bosnia, and Dalmatia, had learned with cause to
tremble at his name. It required no little nerve to assail such a man,
and yet when, April 18, 1462, at Brescia, he publicly preached the
forbidden doctrine, the Dominican Inquisitor, Giacomo da Brescia, lost
no time in calling him to account. First a courteous note expressed
disbelief in the report of the sermon and asked a disclaimer; but on the
Observantine adhering to the doctrine, a formal summons followed, citing
him to appear for trial on the next day. The two Orders had thus fairly
locked horns. The Bishop of Brescia interfered and obtained a withdrawal
of the summons, but the question had to be fought out before the pope.
The bitterness of feeling may be judged by the complaint of the
inquisitor that his opponent had so excited the people of Brescia
against him and the Dominicans that but for prompt measures many of them
would have been slain; while, from Milan to Verona, every Dominican
pulpit resounded with denunciations of Giacomo della Marca as a heretic.

The politic Pius II. feared to quarrel with either Order, and had a
tortuous path to tread. To the Dominicans he furnished an authenticated
copy of the decision of Clement VI. To Giacomo della Marca he wrote that
this had been done because he could not refuse it, and not to give it
authority. It had not been issued by Clement, but only in his name, and
the question was still an open one. Giacomo might rest in peace in the
conviction that the pope had full confidence in his zeal and orthodoxy,
and that his calumniators should be silenced. On May 31 he issued
commands that all discussions of the question should cease, and that
both sides should send their most learned brethren to an assembly which
he would hold in September for exhaustive debate and final decision.
This he hoped would put an end to the matter, while skilful postponement
of the conference would allow it to die out; but he miscalculated the
enmity of the rival Orders. The quarrel raged more fiercely than ever.
The Franciscans declared that the inquisitor who started it would be
deprived of his office and mastership in theology. Pius thereupon
soothed him by assuring him that he had only done his duty, and that he
had nothing to fear.

The conference had become an inevitable evil, and Pius found himself
obliged to allow it to meet in December, 1463. Each side selected three
champions, and for three days, in the presence of the pope and sacred
college, they argued the point with such ardent vehemence that, in spite
of the bitter winter weather, they were bathed in sweat. Then others
took part and the question was debated pro and con. The Franciscans put
in evidence the blood of Christ exhibited for the veneration of the
faithful in many shrines, and to the foreskin which was in the Lateran
and also in the royal chapel of France. They also appealed to the
cuttings of Christ’s hair and beard, the parings of his nails, and all
his excretions--did these remain on earth or were they divine and
carried to heaven? To these arguments the Dominican reply is a curious
exhibition of special pleading and sophistry; but as no one could allege
a single text of Scripture bearing upon the question, neither side could
claim the victory. The good Bishop of Brescia, who had at first played
the part of peacemaker, consistently presented a written argument in
which he proved that the pope ought not to settle the question because
such a determination would, firstly, be doubtful; secondly, superfluous;
and, thirdly, perilous. This wise utterance was probably inspired, for
Pius reserved his decision, and, August 1, 1464, only eight days before
his death, issued a bull in which he recited how the faithful had been
scandalized by the quarrel between the two Orders, and, therefore, he
forbade further discussion on the subject until the Holy See should
finally decide it. The Dominicans were emphatically prohibited from
denouncing the Franciscans as heretics on account of it, and any
infraction of his commands was punishable by _ipso facto_
excommunication supplemented with harsh imprisonment. He tells us
himself that after the public discussion the cardinals debated the
matter for several days. The majority inclined to the Dominicans and he
agreed with them, but the preaching of the Franciscans was necessary for
the crusade against the Turks which he proposed to lead in person, and
it was impolitic to offend them, so he postponed the decision.
Mutterings of discussion, without open quarrel, have since then
occasionally occurred between the Orders, but the popes have never seen
fit to issue a definite decision on the subject, and the momentous
question started by Roselli remains still unsettled--a pitfall for
unwary feet.[194]

In 1356 Roselli was created Cardinal of S. Sisto, and was succeeded
after a short interval by Nicolas Eymerich, the most noteworthy man of
whom the Aragonese Inquisition can boast, although after more than
thirty years of service he ended his days in disgrace and exile. Trained
in varied learning, and incessant in industry, of his numerous works but
one has had the honors of print--his “Directorium Inquisitorum,” in
which, for the first time, he systematized the procedure of his beloved
institution, giving the principles and details which should guide the
inquisitor in all his acts. The book remained an authority to the last,
and formed the basis of almost all subsequent compilations. Eymerich’s
conception of the model inquisitor was lofty. He must be fully
acquainted with all the intricacies of doctrine, and with all the
aberrations of heresy--not only those which are current among the common
people, but the recondite speculations of the schools, Averrhoism and
Aristotelian errors, and the beliefs of Saracen and Tartar. At a time
when the Inquisition was declining and falling into contempt, he boldly
insisted on its most extreme prerogatives as an imprescriptible
privilege. If he assumed that the heretic had but one right--that of
choosing between submission and the stake--he was in this but the
conscientious exponent of his age, and his writings are instinct with
the conviction that the work of the inquisitor is the salvation of

From Eymerich’s lament over the difficulty of providing for the expenses
of an institution so necessary to the Church, it is evident that the
kings of Aragon had not felt it their duty to support the Holy Office,
while the bishops, he tells us, were as firm as their brethren in other
lands in evading the responsibility which by right was incumbent on
them. The confiscations, he adds, amounted to little or nothing, for
heretics were poor folk--Waldenses, Fraticelli, and the like. In fact,
so far as we can gather, the sum of Eymerich’s activity during his long
career is so small that it shows how little was left of heresy by this
time. Occasional Fraticelli and Waldenses and renegade Jews or Saracens
were all that rewarded the inquisitor, with every now and then some
harmless lunatic whose extravagance unfortunately took a religious turn,
or some over-subtle speculator on the intricacies of dogmatic theology.
Thus, early in his career, about 1360, Eymerich had the satisfaction of
burning as a relapsed heretic a certain Nicholas of Calabria, who
persisted in asserting that his teacher, Martin Gonsalvo of Cuenca, was
the Son of God, who would live forever, would convert the world, and at
the Day of Judgment would pray for all the dead and liberate them from
hell. In 1371 he had the further gratification of silencing, by a
decision of Gregory XI., a Franciscan, Pedro Bonageta. The exact
relation between the physical matter of the consecrated host and the
body of Christ under certain circumstances had long been a source of
disputation in the Church, and Fray Pedro taught that if it fell into
the mud or other unclean place, or if it were gnawed by a mouse, the
body of Christ flew to heaven and the wafer became simple bread; and so
also when it was ground under the teeth of the recipient, before he
swallowed it. Gregory did not venture to pronounce this heretical, but
he forbade its public enunciation. About the same time Eymerich had a
good deal of trouble with Fray Ramon de Tarraga, a Jew turned Dominican,
whose numerous philosophical writings savored of heresy. After he had
been kept in prison for a couple of years, Gregory ordered him to have a
speedy trial, and threatened Eymerich with punishment for contumacy if
his commands were disobeyed. Ramon must have had powerful friends in the
Order whom Eymerich feared to provoke, for six months later Gregory
wrote again, saying that if Ramon could not be punished according to the
law in Aragon, he must be sent to the papal court under good guard with
all the papers of the process duly sealed. In fact, the Inquisition was
not established for the trial of Dominicans. At the same time another
Jew, Astruchio de Piera, held by Eymerich on an accusation of sorcery
and the invocation of demons, was claimed as justiciable by the civil
power, and was sequestrated until Gregory ordered his delivery to the
inquisitor, who forced him to abjure and imprisoned him for life.
Somewhat earlier was a certain Bartolo Janevisio, of Majorca, who
indulged in some apocalyptic writing about Antichrist, and was forced,
in 1361, by Eymerich to recant, while his book was publicly burned. More
practical, from a political point of view, was Eymerich’s doctrine that
all who lent assistance to the Saracens were punishable by the
Inquisition as fautors of heresy, but this seems to have remained a
theoretical assertion which brought no business to the Holy Office. We
shall see hereafter how he fared in seeking the condemnation of Raymond
Lulli’s writings, and need only say here that the result was his
suspension from office, to be succeeded by his capital enemy Bernardo
Ermengaudi, in 1386, and that after the succession to the throne, in
1387, of Juan I., who was bitterly hostile to him, he was twice
proscribed and exiled, and was denounced by the king as an obstinate
fool, an enemy of the faith inspired by Satan, anointed with the poison
of infidelity, together with other unflattering qualifications. He did
not succeed better when in his rash zeal he assailed the holy San
Vicente Ferrer for saying in a sermon that Judas Iscariot had a true and
salutary repentance; that, being unable to reach Christ and obtain
forgiveness owing to the crowd, he hanged himself and was pardoned in
heaven. When the case was drawing to a conclusion, Pedro de Luna, then
Cardinal of Aragon, took Vicente under his protection and made him his
confessor, and, after his election in 1394 as Avignonese pope, under the
name of Benedict XIII., he forced Eymerich to surrender the papers,
which he unceremoniously burned. The next inquisitor, Bernardo Puig, is
said to have been earnest and successful, punishing many heretics and
confuting many heresies. In Valencia, about 1390, there was a case in
which Pedro de Ceplanes, priest of Cella, read in his church a formal
declaration that there were three natures in Christ--divine, spiritual,
and human. A merchant of the town loudly contradicted it, and a tumult
arose. The inquisitor of Valencia promptly arrested the too ingenious
theologian, who only escaped the stake by public recantation and
condemnation to perpetual imprisonment; but he broke jail and fled to
the Balearic Isles, interjecting an appeal to the Holy See.[195]

The creation, in 1262, of the kingdom of Majorca, comprising the
Balearic Isles, Rosellon, and Cerdaña, by Jayme I. of Aragon, for the
benefit of his younger son Jayme, seemed to render a separate
inquisition requisite for the new realm. At what time it was established
is uncertain, the earliest inquisitor of Majorca on record being Fr.
Ramon Durfort, whose name occurs as a witness on a charter of 1332, and
he continued to occupy the position until 1343, when he was elected
Provincial of Toulouse. From that time, at least, there is a succession
of inquisitors, and the forcible reunion in 1348, by Pedro IV., of the
outlying provinces to the crown of Aragon did not effect a consolidation
of the tribunals. As the Inquisition declined in dignity and importance,
indeed, it seems to have sought a remedy in multiplying and localizing
its offices. In 1413 Benedict XIII. (who was still recognized as pope in
Aragon) made a further division by separating the counties of Rosellon
and Cerdaña from the Balearic Isles, Fray Bernardo Pages retaining the
former, and Guillen Sagarra obtaining the latter. Both of these were
energetic men who celebrated a number of _autos de fé_, in which
numerous heretics were reconciled or burned. Sagarra was succeeded by
Bernardo Moyl, and the latter by Antonio Murta, who was confirmed in
1420, when Martin V. approved of the changes made. At the same time
Martin, at the request of the king and of the consuls of Valencia,
erected that province also into a separate Inquisition. The Provincial
of Aragon appointed Fray Andrea Ros to fill the position; he was
confirmed in 1433 by Eugenius IV., but was removed without cause
assigned the next year by the same pope, although we are told that he
inflexibly persecuted the “Bohemians” or “Wickliffites” with fire
and sword. His successors, Domingo Corts and Antonio de Cremona, earned
equal laurels in suppressing Waldenses.[196]

A case occurring in 1423 would seem to indicate that the Inquisition had
lost much of the terror which had rendered it formidable. Fray Pedro
Salazo, Inquisitor of Rosellon and Cerdaña, threw in prison on charges
of heresy a hermit named Pedro Freserii, who enjoyed great reputation
for sanctity among the people. The accused declared that the witnesses
were personal enemies, and that he was ready to purge himself before a
proper judge, and his friends lodged an appeal with Martin V. The pope
referred the matter, with power to decide without appeal, to Bernardo,
Abbot of the Benedictine Monastery of Arles, in the diocese of Elne.
Bernardo deputed the case to a canon of the church of Elne, who
acquitted the accused without awaiting the result of another appeal to
the pope interjected by the inquisitor; and Martin finally sent the
matter to the Ordinary of Narbonne, with power to summon all parties
before him and decide the case definitely. The whole transaction shows a
singular want of respect for the functions of the Inquisition.[197]

Even more significant is a complaint made in 1456 to Calixtus III. by
Fray Mateo de Rapica, a later inquisitor of Rosellon and Cerdaña.
Certain neophytes, or converted Jews, persisted in Judaic practices,
such as eating meat in Lent and forcing their Christian servants to do
likewise. When Fray Mateo and Juan, Bishop of Elne, prosecuted them,
they were so far from submitting that they published a defamatory libel
upon the inquisitor, and, with the aid of certain laymen, afflicted him
with injuries and expenses. Finding himself powerless, he appealed to
the pope, who ordered the Archbishop and Official of Narbonne to
intervene and decide the matter. The same spirit, in even a more
aggravated form, was exhibited in a case already referred to, when, in
1458, Fray Miguel, the Inquisitor of Aragon, was maltreated and thrown
in prison for nine months by some nobles and high officials of the
kingdom, whom he had offended in obeying the instructions sent to him by
Nicholas V.[198]

Yet, as against the poor and friendless, the Inquisition retained its
power. Wickliffitism--as it had become the fashion to designate
Waldensianism--had continued to spread, and about 1440 numbers of its
sectaries were discovered, of whom some were reconciled, and more were
burned as obstinate heretics by Miguel Ferriz, Inquisitor of Aragon,
and Martin Trilles of Valencia. Possibly among these was an unfortunate
woman, Leonor, wife of Doctor Jayme de Liminanna, of whom, about this
time, we hear that she refused to perform the penance assigned to her by
the Inquisition of Cartagena, and that she was consequently abandoned to
the secular arm. The post of inquisitor continued to be sought for. To
multiply it, Catalonia was separated from Aragon by Nicholas V. shortly
after his accession in 1447. In 1459 another division took place, the
diocese of Barcelona being erected into an independent tribunal by
Martiale Auribelli, Dominican General Master, for the benefit of Fray
Juan Conde, counsellor and confessor of the infant Carlos, Prince of
Viane. The new incumbent, however, had not a peaceful time. It was
probably the Inquisitor of Catalonia, objecting to the fractioning of
his district, who obtained from Pius II., in 1461, a brief annulling the
division, on the ground that one inquisitor had always sufficed. Fray
Juan resisted and incurred excommunication, but the influence of his
royal patron was sufficient to obtain from Pius, October 13, 1461,
another bull restoring him to his position and absolving him from the
excommunication. In 1479 a squabble occurring at Valencia shows that the
office possessed attractions worth contending for. The Provincial of
Aragon had removed Fray Jayme Borell and appointed Juan Marquez in his
stead. Borell carried the tale of his woes to Sixtus IV., who commanded
the General Master to replace him and retain him in peaceful

Ferdinand the Catholic succeeded to the throne of Aragon in 1479, as he
had already done, in 1474, to that of Castile by right of his wife
Isabella. Even before the organizing of the new Inquisition in Aragon,
in 1483, it is probable that the influence of Ferdinand had done much to
restore the power of the institution. In 1482, on the eve of the change,
we find the Inquisition of Aragon acting with renewed vigor and
boldness, under the Dominican, Juan de Epila. A number of cases are
recorded of this period, including the prosecution of the father and
mother of Felipe de Clemente, Prothonotary of the kingdom. As a
preparatory step to placing the dominions of the crown of Aragon under
Torquemada as Inquisitor-general, it was requisite to get rid of
Cristobal Gualvez, who had been Inquisitor of Valencia since 1452, and
who had disgraced his office by his crimes. Sixtus IV. had a special
enmity to him, and, in ordering his deposition, stigmatized him as an
impudent and impious man, whose unexampled excesses were worthy of
severe chastisement; and when Sixtus, in 1483, extended Torquemada’s
authority over the whole of Spain, with power to nominate deputies, he
excepted “that son of iniquity, Cristobal Gualvez,” who had been
interdicted from the office in consequence of his demerits, and whom he
even deprived of the function of preaching.[200]

       *       *       *       *       *

The great kingdom of Castile and Leon, embracing the major portion of
the Spanish peninsula, never enjoyed the blessing of the mediæval
Inquisition. It was more independent of Rome than any other monarchy of
the period. Lordly prelates, turbulent nobles, and cities jealous of
their liberties allowed scant opportunity for the centralization of
power in the crown. The people were rude and uncultured, and not much
given to vain theological speculation. Their superfluous energy,
moreover, found ample occupation in the task of winning back the land
from the Saracen. The large population of Jews and of conquered Moors
gave them peculiar problems to deal with which would have been
complicated rather than solved by the methods of the Inquisition, until
the union of Aragon and Castile under Ferdinand and Isabella, followed
by the conquest of Granada, enabled those monarchs to undertake
seriously the business, attractive both to statecraft and to fanaticism,
of compelling uniformity of faith.

It is true that the Dominican legend relates how Dominic returned from
Rome to Spain as Inquisitor-general, on the errand of establishing there
the Inquisition for the purpose of punishing the renegade converted Jews
and Moors; how he was warmly seconded by San Fernando III.; how he
organized the Inquisition throughout the land, celebrating himself the
first _auto de fé_ at Burgos, where three hundred apostates were
burned, and the second _auto_ in the presence of the saintly king, who
himself carried on his shoulders fagots for the burning of his subjects,
and the pertinacious wretches defiantly rejoiced in the flames which
were consuming them; how, after this, he established the Inquisition in
Aragon, whence he journeyed to Paris and organized it throughout France;
how, in 1220, he sent Conrad of Marburg as inquisitor to Germany, and in
1221 finished his labors by founding it in all the parts of Italy. All
this can rank in historical value with the veracious statement of an old
chronicler--a compatriot of the Pied Piper of Hamelin--that St. Boniface
was an inquisitor, and that, with the support of Pepin le Bref, he
burned many heretics. Detailed lists, moreover, are given of the
successive inquisitors-general of the Peninsula--Frailes Suero Gomes, B.
Gil, Pedro de Huesca, Arnaldo Segarra, Garcia de Valcos, etc., but these
are simply the Dominican provincials of Spain, who were empowered by the
popes to appoint inquisitors, and whose exercise of that power did not
extend beyond Aragon. Even Paramo, although he tries to prove that there
were inquisitors nominally in Castile, is forced to admit that
practically there was no Inquisition there.[201]

Yet, even in the distant city of Leon, Catharism had obtained a
foothold. Bishop Rodrigo, who died in 1232, expelled a number of
Cathari, on his attention being called to them by their circulating a
story to excite hatred of the priesthood, relating how a poor woman
placed a candle on the altar in honor of the Virgin, and on her leaving
it a priest took it for his own use. The following night the Virgin
appeared to her votary and cast burning wax into her eyes, saying,
“Take the wages of your service. As soon as you went away a priest
carried off the candle; as you would have been rewarded had the candle
been consumed on my altar, so you must bear the punishment, since your
carelessness gave me the light only for a moment.” This diabolical
story, says Lucas of Tuy, an eye-witness, so affected the minds of the
simple that the devotion of offering candles ceased, and it required two
genuine miracles to restore the faith of the people. During the
interval between the death of Bishop Rodrigo, in March, 1232, and the
election of his successor, Arnaldo, in August, 1234, the heretics had
ample opportunity to work their wicked will. A Catharan named Arnaldo
had been burned, about 1218, in a place in the suburbs used for
depositing filth. There was a spring there which the heretics colored
red, and proclaimed that it had miraculously been turned to blood. Many
of them, simulating blindness, lameness, and demoniacal possession, were
carried there and pretended to be cured, after which they dug up the
heretic’s bones and declared them to be those of a holy martyr. The
people were fired with enthusiasm, erected a chapel, and worshipped the
relics with the utmost ardor. In vain the clergy and the friars
endeavored to stem the tide; the people denounced them as heretics, and
despised the excommunication with which the neighboring bishops visited
the adoration of the new saint; while the real heretics made many
converts by secretly relating how the affair had been managed, and
pointing it out as a sample of the manufacture of saints and miracles.
God visited the sacrilege with a drouth of ten months, which was not
broken until Lucas, at the risk of his life, destroyed the heretic
chapel; and when the rains came there was a revulsion of feeling which
enabled him to expel the heretics. All this would seem to indicate that
the heretics were numerous and organized; it certainly shows that there
was no machinery for their suppression; but after the elevation of Lucas
to the see of Tuy, in 1239, we hear no more of heretics or of
persecutions. The whole affair, apparently, was a sporadic
manifestation, probably of some band of fugitives from Languedoc, who
disappeared and left no following.[202]

If what Lucas tells us be true, that ecclesiastics frequently joined in
and enjoyed the ridicule with which heretics derided the sacraments and
the clergy, the Spanish Church was not likely to give much aid to the
introduction of the Inquisition. How little its methods were understood
appears in the fact that when, in 1236, San Fernando III. found some
heretics at Palencia, he proceeded to brand them in the face, which
brought them to reason and led them to seek absolution. No one seemed to
know what to do with them, so Gregory IX. was applied to, and he
authorized the Bishop of Palencia to reconcile them. There is probably
no truth in the statement of some historians that the king, on several
occasions, was obliged to levy from his subjects a tribute of wood with
which to burn the unrepentant, and the story only serves to show how
utterly vague have been the current conceptions of the period.[203]

We reach firmer ground with the codes known as El Fuero Real and Las
Siete Partidas, the first issued by Alonso the Wise, in 1255, and the
second about ten years later. By this time the Inquisition was at its
height. It was thoroughly organized, and wherever it existed the
business of suppressing heresy was exclusively in its hands. Yet not
only does Alonso take no count of it, but in his regulation by secular
law of the relations between the heretic and the Church he shows how
completely, up to this period, Spain had remained outside of the great
movements of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Heresy, it is true,
is one of the matters pertaining to the ecclesiastical tribunals, and
any one can accuse a heretic before his bishop or vicar. If the accused
is found not to believe as the Church teaches, effort is to be made to
convert him, and if he returns to the faith he is to be pardoned. If he
proves obstinate, he is to be handed over to the secular judge. Then,
however, his fate is decided without reference to the laws which the
Church had endeavored to introduce throughout Christendom. If the
culprit had received the _consolamentum_, or is a believer observing the
rites, or one of those who deny the future life, he is to be burned; but
if a believer not observing the rites, he is to be banished or
imprisoned until he returns to the faith. Any one learning heresy, but
not yet a believer, is fined ten pounds of gold to the fisc, or, if
unable to pay, to receive fifty lashes in public. In the case of those
who die in heresy or are executed, their estates pass to Catholic
descendants, or, in default of these, to the next of kin; if without
such kindred, the property of laymen goes to the fisc, of ecclesiastics,
to the Church, if claimed within a year, after which it inures to the
fisc. Children disinherited for heresy recover their portions, but not
the mesne profits, on recantation. No one, after condemnation for
heresy, can hold office, inherit property, make a will, execute a sale,
or give testimony. The house where a wandering heretic missionary is
sheltered is forfeited to the Church, if inhabited by the owner; if
rented, the offending tenant is fined ten pounds of gold or publicly
scourged. A _rico home_ or noble sheltering heretics in his lands or
castles, and persisting after a year’s excommunication, forfeits the
land or castle to the king; and if a non-noble his body and property are
at the king’s pleasure. The Christian who turns Jew or Moslem is legally
a heretic, and is to be burned, as well as one who brings up a child in
the forbidden faith. Prosecutions of the dead, however, are humanely
limited to five years after decease.[204]

All this shows that Alonso and his counsellors recognized the duty of
the State to preserve the purity of the faith, but that they considered
it wholly an affair of the State, in which the Church had no voice
beyond ascertaining the guilt of the accused. All the voluminous and
minute legislation of Gregory IX., Innocent IV., and Alexander IV. was
wholly disregarded--the canon law had no currency in Castile, which
regulated such matters to suit its own needs. That in this respect the
popular needs were met is shown by the Ordenamiento de Alcalà, issued in
1348, which is silent on the subject of heresy. Apparently no change was
deemed necessary in the provisions of the Partidas, which were then for
the first time confirmed by the popular assembly. Under such legislation
it follows as a matter of course that the Dominican provincial had no
inquisitors to appoint, except in Aragon, under the bull of Urban IV. in

Castile continued unvexed by the Inquisition, and persecution for heresy
was almost unknown. In 1316 Bernard Gui, of Toulouse, discovered in his
district some of the dreaded sectaries known as Dolcinists or
Pseudo-Apostoli, who fled to Spain to escape his energetic pursuit. May
1, 1316, he wrote to all the prelates and friars of Spain describing
their characteristics and urging their apprehension and punishment. Had
there been an Inquisition there he would have addressed himself to it.
From remote Compostella he received an answer, written by Archbishop
Rodrigo, March 6, 1317, announcing that five persons answering to the
description had been captured there and were held in chains, and asking
for instructions as to the mode of trying them and the punishment to be
inflicted in case they are found guilty, “for all this is heretofore
unaccustomed in our parts.” Evidently there was no Inquisition in
Castile and Leon to which to apply, and even the provisions of the
Partidas were unknown, though of all places in the kingdom Compostella
must have been the one most familiar with the outer world and with
heretics, from the stream of penitents continually sent thither as

In 1401 Boniface IX. made a demonstration by appointing the provincial,
Vicente de Lisboa, inquisitor over all Spain, directing that his
expenses should be paid by the bishops, and that no superior of his
Order could remove him. The only heresy specifically alluded to in the
bull is the idolatrous worship of plants, trees, stones, and
altars--apparently superstitious relics of paganism which indicate the
condition of religion and culture in the Peninsula. Boniface’s action
could hardly have been taken with any expectation of result, as Spain
rendered obedience to Benedict XIII., the Antipope of Avignon, and it
was probably only a move in the political game of the Great Schism.
Whatever the motive, however, the effort was fruitless, for Fray Vicente
was already dead in the odor of sanctity at the date of the bull. On
learning this, Boniface returned to the charge, February 1, 1402, by
empowering forever thereafter the Dominican Provincial of Spain to
appoint and remove inquisitors, or to act as such himself, with all the
privileges and powers accorded to the office by the canons. Inoperative
as this remained, it at least had the advantage of supplying to the
Spanish historians an unbroken line of inquisitors-general to be
catalogued. About the same time King Henry III. increased the penalties
of heresy by decreeing confiscation to the royal treasury of one-half of
the possessions of heretics condemned by the ecclesiastical

This, perhaps, technically justifies Alonso Tostado, Bishop of Avila,
who soon afterwards alludes to inquisitors in Spain investigating those
defamed for heresy, and it explains the remarks of Sixtus IV. when, in
January, 1482, he confirmed the two inquisitors appointed at Seville by
Ferdinand and Isabella at the commencement of their reforms, and forbade
their naming more, for the reason that the appointees of the Dominican
provincial were sufficient. In spite of all this, the Spanish
Inquisition was simply potential, not existent. When, in 1453, Alonso de
Almarzo, Abbot of the great Benedictine foundation of Antealtares of
Compostella, with his accomplices, was tried for selling throughout
Spain and Portugal indulgences warranted to release the souls of the
damned from hell, for counterfeiting the papal Agnus Dei, for forging
and altering papal letters, and for persuading Jewish converts to
apostatize, had there been an Inquisition it would promptly have taken
cognizance of the culprits; but in place of this the case was referred
to Nicolas V., who instructed the Bishop of Tarazona to proceed against
them. A few years later Alonso de Espina, about 1460, sorrowfully admits
the absence of all persecution of heresy. Bishops and inquisitors and
preachers ought all to resist the heretics, but there is no one to do
it. “No one investigates the errors of heretics. The ravening wolves, O
Lord, have gained admittance to thy flock, for the shepherds are few.
There are many hirelings, and because they are hirelings they care only
for shearing, not for feeding the sheep!” and he draws a deplorable
picture of the Spanish Church, distracted with heretics, Jews, and
Saracens. Soon after this, in 1464, the Cortes assembled at Medina
turned its attention to the subject and complained of the great number
of “_malos cristianos e sospechosos en la fe_,” but the national
aversion to the papal Inquisition still manifested itself, and its
introduction was not suggested. The archbishops and bishops were
requested to set on foot a rigid investigation after heretics, and King
Henry IV. was asked to lend them aid, so that every suspected place
might be thoroughly searched, and offenders brought to light,
imprisoned, and punished. It was represented to the king that this would
be to his advantage, as the confiscations would inure to the royal
treasury, and he graciously expressed his assent; but the effort was

For the most part the orthodoxy of Spain had been vexed only with a few
Fraticelli and Waldenses, not numerous enough to call for active
repression. The main trouble lay in the multitudes of Jews and Moors
who, under the law, were entitled to toleration, but whom popular
fanaticism had forced to conversion in great numbers, and whose purity
of faith was justly liable to suspicion. Hereafter I hope to have the
opportunity of showing that from both the religious and the political
standpoint of the age the measures taken by Ferdinand and Isabella were
by no means without justification, however mistaken they were both in
morals and in policy, and however unfortunate in their ultimate results.
At present it suffices to point out this condition of affairs to explain
the dissatisfaction which was widely prevalent and the demand for an
efficient remedy.

At the same time even Spain was not wholly unmoved by the spirit of
unrest and inquiry which marked the second half of the fifteenth
century, sapping the foundations of tradition and rejecting the claims
of sacerdotalism. About 1460 we learn from Alonso de Espina that many
were beginning to deny the efficacy of oral confession, and this point
could not have been reached without calling in question many other
doctrines and observances which the Church taught to be necessary to
salvation. At length these innovators grew so bold that Pedro de Osma, a
professor in the great University of Salamanca, ventured to promulgate
their obnoxious opinions in print. Oral confession, he asserted, was of
human, not of divine precept, and was unnecessary for the forgiveness of
sins; no papal indulgence could insure the living from the fires of
purgatory; the papacy could err, and had no power to dispense with the
statutes of the Church. Had there been any machinery of persecution at
hand, short work would have been made with so bold a heretic, but the
authorities were so much at a loss what to do with him that they applied
to Sixtus IV., who sent a commission to Alonso Carrillo, Archbishop of
Toledo, the dignitary next in rank to the king, to try him. In 1479 a
council was assembled for the purpose at Alcalà, consisting of fifty-two
of the best theologians in Spain, besides a number of canon lawyers.
Pedro was summoned to appear, and on his failing to do so his doctrine
was condemned as heretical, and he was sentenced--not to the stake for
contumacy, but to recant publicly in the pulpit. He submitted and did
so, and we are told in the official report of the proceedings that all
the faithful burst into tears at this signal manifestation of the
conquering hand of God. Pedro died peacefully in the bosom of the Church
during the next year, 1480, and Sixtus IV., in confirming the action of
the council, ordered the archbishop to prosecute as heretics any of his
followers who would not imitate his obedience.[208]

Evidently some more efficient and less cumbrous method was requisite if
the population of reunited Spain was to enjoy the blessing of uniformity
in faith. It did not take long for the piety of Isabella and the policy
of Ferdinand to discover appropriate means.

       *       *       *       *       *

In Portugal, Affonso II., at the commencement of his reign, in 1211, had
manifested his zeal by inducing his Cortes to adopt severe laws for the
repression of heresy; but when Sueiro Gomes, the first Dominican
Provincial of Spain, endeavored to introduce in his kingdom inquisitors
of the order, Affonso refused to admit them, and successfully insisted
that heretics should be tried as heretofore by the ordinary episcopal
courts. This rebuff sufficed for nearly a century and a half, and there
must have been considerable freedom of thought, for, about 1325, Alvaro
Pelayo gives a long list of the errors publicly defended in the schools
of Lisbon by Thomas Scotus, a renegade friar. Their nature may be
appreciated from his Averrhoistic assertion that there had been three
deceivers--Moses who deceived the Jews, Christ the Christians, and
Mahomet the Saracens. He seems to have enjoyed immunity until he
declared that St. Antony of Padua kept concubines, when the Franciscan
prior had him incarcerated, and his trial followed. At last, by a bull,
dated January 17, 1376, Gregory XI. authorized Agapito Colonna, Bishop
of Lisbon, to appoint, for this time only, a Franciscan inquisitor, as
heresies were known to be spreading, and there were no inquisitors in
the kingdom. The nominee was to receive an annual salary of two hundred
gold florins assessed upon all the dioceses in the proportion of their
contributions to the apostolic chamber. Under this authority Agapito
appointed the first Portuguese inquisitor, Martino Vasquez. From what we
have seen elsewhere we may reasonably doubt his success in collecting
his stipend; but, small as his receipts may have been, they were the
equivalent of his service, for no trace of any labors performed by him

The Great Schism commenced in 1378, and as Portugal acknowledged Urban
VI. while Spain adhered to the antipope Clement VII., the Dominican
province of Spain divided itself, the Portuguese choosing a
vicar-general, and finally a provincial, Gonçalo, in 1418, when Martin
V. legalized the separation. This perhaps explains why Martino Vasquez
was succeeded by another Franciscan. In 1394 Rodrigo de Cintra, calling
himself Inquisitor of Portugal and Algarve, applied to Boniface IX. for
confirmation, which was graciously accorded to him. Apparently the
revenues of the office were nil, for the privilege was granted to him of
residing with one associate at will in any Franciscan convent, which was
bound to minister to his necessities, the same as to any other master of
theology. Rodrigo was preacher to King João I., who requested this favor
of Boniface, and his career, like that of his predecessor, is a blank.
He was followed by a Dominican, Vicente de Lisboa, who had been
Provincial of Spain at the time of the disruption, when he returned to
Portugal and became confessor of Dom João. The king, in 1399, requested
of Boniface his appointment as inquisitor, which was duly granted; and,
as we have seen, in 1401, the pope endeavored to extend his jurisdiction
over Castile and Leon. No trace of his inquisitorial activity exists.
After his death, in 1401, there appears to have been an interval. The
office apparently was regarded as a perquisite of the royal chapel for
those who would condescend to accept it. The next appointment of which
we hear is that of another confessor of Dom João, in 1413, this time a
Franciscan, Affonso de Alprão, of whose doings no record has been
preserved. When, in 1418, the kingdom was reorganized as an independent
Dominican province, the earnest annalists of the Inquisition assume that
under the bull of Boniface IX., in 1402, each successive provincial was
likewise an inquisitor-general, and the lists of these worthies are
laboriously paraded as such, until the founding of the New Inquisition
in 1531. No acts of theirs in such capacity, however, are recorded. The
Holy Office continued dormant, without even a titular official, until,
in the early years of the sixteenth century, Dom Manoel, stimulated by
the example of his Castilian neighbors, and feeling solicitude as to the
status of the New Christians, or converts from Judaism and Islam,
bethought him of its revival. Although he had the Dominican provincial
at hand, no purpose of utilizing him in this manner seems to have been
entertained. The king applied to the pope and obtained the appointment
of a Franciscan, Henrique de Coimbra, but there is no trace of his

The New Inquisition of Spain was a model which the smaller kingdom would
naturally be expected to adopt, and in fact, to ardent Catholics, there
might well seem to be a necessity for such an institution in view of the
problems arising from the large influx of New Christians flying from
Spanish persecution. Dom Manoel, indeed, at one time entertained so
seriously the idea of establishing the Spanish Inquisition in his
dominions that, in 1515, he ordered his ambassador at Rome, D. Miguel da
Silva, to obtain from Leo X. the same privileges as those which had been
conceded to Castile, but from some cause the project was abandoned. His
son, Dom João III., who succeeded him in 1521, was a weak-minded
fanatic, and it is only singular that the introduction of the
Inquisition on the Spanish model was delayed for still ten years. The
struggle which took place over the measure belongs, however, to a period
beyond our present limits.[211]



In France we have seen the stubbornness of heresy in alliance with
feudalism resisting the encroachments of monarchy. In Italy we meet with
different and more complicated conditions, which gave additional
stimulus to antagonism against the established Church, and rendered its
suppression a work of much greater detail. Here heresy and politics are
so inextricably intermingled that at times differentiation becomes
virtually impossible, and the fate of heretics depends more on political
vicissitudes than even on the zeal of men like St. Peter Martyr, or
Rainerio Saccone.

For centuries the normal condition of Italy was not far removed from
anarchy. Spasmodic attempts of the empire to make good its traditional
claim to overlordship were met by the steady policy of the papacy to
extend its temporal power over the Peninsula. During the century
occupied by the reigns of the Hohenstaufens (1152-1254), when the empire
seemed nearest to accomplishing its ends, the popes sought to erect a
rampart by stimulating the attempts of the cities to establish their
independence and form self-governing republics, and it thus created for
itself a party in all of them. North of the Patrimony of St. Peter the
soil of Italy thus became fractioned into petty states under
institutions more or less democratic. For the most part they were torn
with savage internal feuds between factions which, as Guelf or
Ghibelline, hoisted the banner of pope or kaiser as an excuse for
tearing each other to pieces. As a rule, they were involved in constant
war with each other. Occasionally, indeed, some overmastering necessity
might bring about a temporary union, as when the Lombard League, in
1177, broke the Barbarossa’s power on the field of Legnano, but, in
general, the chronicles of that dismal period are a confused mass of
murderous strife inside and outside the gates of every town.

Heresy could scarce ask conditions more favorable for its spread. The
Church, worldly to the core, was immersed in temporal cares and
pleasures, and during the strife between Alexander III. and the four
antipopes successively set up by Frederic I.--Victor, Pascal, Calixtus,
and Innocent--the enforcement of orthodoxy was out of the question.
After the triumph of the papacy, stringent decrees, as we have seen,
were issued by Lucius III., and edicts were promulgated by Henry VI. in
1194, and by Otho IV. in 1210, but they were practically inefficient.
When every town was divided against itself heresy could bargain for
toleration by holding the balance of power, and was frequently able, by
throwing its weight on one side or the other, to obtain a share in the
government. The larger struggles of city against city and of pope
against emperor afforded a still wider field for the exercise of this
diplomatic ability, of which full advantage was taken. When the formulas
of persecution became defined under Honorius III., Gregory IX., and
Frederic II., and fautorship was made equivalent to heresy, the factions
and the nobles who tolerated or protected heretics became involved in
the common anathema, and whole communities were stigmatized as given
over to false idols. Yet although Ghibelline and heretic were frequently
held by the popes to be almost convertible terms, there was in reality
no test capable of universal application. Traditional hostility to the
empire rendered Milan an intensely Guelf community, and yet it was
everywhere recognized as the greatest centre of heresy.

Though heresy was by no means so universal as the papal anathemas would
indicate, yet heretics were quite numerous enough to possess political
importance, and to have some justification for their hopes of eventually
becoming dominant. Little concealment was deemed necessary. When Otho
IV. was in Rome for his coronation in 1209, under the vigilant rule of
Innocent III., the ecclesiastics who accompanied him were scandalized at
finding schools where Manichæan doctrines were openly taught, apparently
without interference. The earlier Dominican persecutors are represented
as constantly holding public disputations with heretics in the most
populous cities of Italy, and the miracles related of them were mostly
occasioned by the taunts and challenges of heretics. Otho, at Ferrara,
in 1210, was obliged to order the magistrates to put to the ban the
Cathari who refused, at the instance of the bishop, to return to the
Church, and also those who publicly supported them.[212]

Although Stephen of Bourbon relates that a converted heretic informed
him that in Milan there were no less than seventeen heterodox sects
which bitterly disputed with each other, yet they can, as in France, be
reduced to two main classes--Cathari, or Patarins, and Waldenses. The
Cathari, it will be remembered, made their appearance in the first half
of the eleventh century, at Monforte, in Lombardy, and they had
continued to multiply since then. About the middle of the thirteenth
century Rainerio Saccone gives us an enumeration of their churches. In
Lombardy and the Marches there were about five hundred perfected Cathari
of the Albanensian sect, more than fifteen hundred Concorrezenses, and
about two hundred Bajolenses. The Church of Vicenza reckoned about a
hundred; there were as many in Florence and Spoleto, and in addition
about one hundred and fifty refugees from France in Lombardy. As he
estimates the total number, from Constantinople to the Pyrenees, at four
thousand, with a countless congregation of believers, it will be seen
that nearly two thirds of the whole number were concentrated in northern
Italy, chiefly in Lombardy, and that they constituted a notable portion
of the population.[213]

Lombardy, in fact, was the centre whence Catharism was propagated
throughout Europe. We have seen above how for more than half a century
it served as a refuge to the persecuted saints of Languedoc, and as a
source whence to draw missionaries and teachers. About 1240 a certain
Yvo of Narbonne was falsely accused of heresy and fled to Italy, where
he was received as a martyr, and had full opportunity of penetrating
into the secrets of the sectaries. In a letter to Géraud, Archbishop of
Bordeaux, he describes their thorough organization throughout Italy,
with ramifications extending into all the neighboring lands. From all
the cities of Lombardy and Tuscany their youth were sent to Paris to
perfect themselves in logic and theology, so as to be able successfully
to defend their errors. Catharan merchants frequented fairs and
obtained entrance into houses where they lost no opportunity of
scattering the seed of false doctrine. Full of zeal and courage, the
Catharan believed his faith to be the religion of the future, and his
ardor courted martyrdom in the effort to spread it everywhere. Milan was
the headquarters whither every year delegates were sent from the
churches throughout Christendom, bringing contributions for the support
of the central organization, and receiving instructions as to the
symbol, changed every twelvemonth, whereby the wandering Patarin could
recognize the houses of his brethren and safely claim hospitality. It
was in vain that, in 1212, Innocent III. warned the heretical city of
the fate of Languedoc, and threatened to send a similar crusade for its
extirpation. Fortunately for the Lombards he had no one to summon to
their destruction, for Germany, however desirous of conquering Italy,
was too distracted for such an enterprise, and the popes dreaded
imperial domination quite as much as heresy. There was bitter irony in
the reply of Frederic II., when, in 1236, he was subduing the rebellious
Lombards, and he answered the clamor of Gregory IX., who called upon him
to transfer his arms to Syria, by pointing out that the Milanese were
much worse than Saracens, and their subjugation much more

We have no means of obtaining an approximate estimate of the Waldenses,
but in some districts they must have been almost as numerous as the
Cathari. The remains of the Arnaldistæ and Umiliati had eagerly welcomed
the missionaries of the Poor Men of Lyons, and had not only adopted
their tenets, but had pushed them to a further development in antagonism
to Rome. As early as 1206 we see Innocent III. alluding to Umiliati and
Poor Men of Lyons as synonymous expressions, and endeavoring with little
success to effect their expulsion from Faenza, where they were spreading
and infecting the people. In Milan they had built a school where they
publicly taught their doctrines; this was at length torn down by a
zealous archbishop, and when, in 1209, Durán de Huesca sought to bring
them back to the fold, a hundred or more of them consented to be
reconciled if the building were restored to them. Evidently they had
little to dread from active persecution, and subsequent letters of
Innocent show them to be still flourishing there. The Waldenses who were
burned at Strassburg in 1212 admitted that their chief resided in Milan,
and that they were in the habit of collecting money and remitting it to

It was, however, in the valleys of the Cottian Alps, to which they
spread from Dauphiné, that they settled themselves most firmly. In those
inhospitable regions, till then almost uninhabited, their marvellous and
self-denying industry occupied every spot where incessant labor could
support life. There they rapidly increased and filled the valleys of
Luserna, Angrogna, San Martino, and Perosa. In 1210 Giacomo di Carisio,
Bishop of Turin, alarmed at the constant growth of this heresy in his
diocese, applied to Otho IV. for aid in its suppression, but the emperor
in reply merely ordered him to use severity in their punishment and
expulsion. Authority for this he already had in abundance under the
canons, but he lacked the physical force to render it effective, and the
imperial rescript went for naught. This shows that the local suzerains
took no measures to enforce persecution, and the heretics continued to
increase. The immediate sovereign of the district most deeply infected
was the Abbey of Ripaille, which found itself unable to control them,
and made over its temporal rights to Tommaso I., Count of Savoy. He
issued an edict, to which I have already referred, imposing a fine of
ten sols for giving refuge to heretics, which proved altogether
ineffective. Thus, in the absence of efficient repression, were
established those Alpine communities whose tenacity of belief supplied
through centuries an unfailing succession of humble martyrs, and who
ennobled human nature by their marvellous example of constancy and

Although the Lombard Waldenses admitted their descent from the Poor Men
of Lyons, their more rapid development gave rise to differences, and in
1218 a conference was held at Bergamo between delegates of both parties.
This did not succeed in removing the points of dissidence, and about
1230 the Lombards sent to the brethren in Germany a statement of the
discussion and of their views. It is not our province to enter into
these minute details of faith and Church government, but the affair is
worth alluding to as illustrating the flourishing condition of the
Church, the practical toleration which it enjoyed, and the active
communication which existed between its organizations throughout

       *       *       *       *       *

The aggressiveness of the heretics, the favor shown them by the people,
and the impossibility of any systematic suppression by the Church under
existing political conditions are well exhibited in the troubles which
commenced at Piacenza in 1204. There the heretics were strong enough to
provoke a quarrel between the authorities and Bishop Grimerio, which
resulted in either the withdrawal or the expulsion of the prelate and
all the clergy. The exiles transferred themselves to Cremona, but in
1205 that city likewise quarrelled with its pastors, and the wanderers
were again driven forth, to find a refuge in Castell’ Arquato. For
three years and a half Piacenza remained without an orthodox priest, and
deprived of all the observances and consolations of religion. So weak
was the hold of the Church upon the people that this deprivation was
acquiesced in with the utmost indifference. In October, 1206, Innocent
III. sent three Apostolic Visitors to effect a reconciliation, with a
threat of dividing the diocese and apportioning it among the neighboring
sees, but the citizens cared nothing for this, and refused the terms
demanded, which required them to compensate their bishop for the damage
inflicted on him. After some six months wasted in fruitless negotiations
the Visitors departed, and it was not till July, 1207, that another
commission, offering more favorable conditions, succeeded in effecting a
reconciliation which enabled the clergy to return from exile. About the
same period Innocent found himself obliged to use persuasion and
argument in the endeavor to urge the people of Treviso to expel their
heretics. So far from threatening them, he begged them to have faith
that their bishop would reform the excesses of the clergy whose evil
example had disturbed them. It is easy thus to understand the exulting
confidence with which the heretics anticipated the eventual triumph of
their creeds, and the despair which led Abbot Joachim of Flora, in
expounding the Apocalypse, to see in them the locusts with the power of
scorpions who issue from the bottomless pit at the sounding of the fifth
trumpet (Rev. IX. 3, 4). These heretics are the Antichrist; they are to
grow in power and their king is already chosen, that king of the locusts
“whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue
hath his name Apollyon” (Rev. IX. 11). Resistance to them will be in
vain; they are to unite with the Saracens, with whom, in 1195, he says
they are already entering into negotiations.[218]

When Honorius III., in 1220, obtained from Frederic II. the ferocious
coronation-edict against heresy, he may well have imagined that the way
was open for its immediate suppression. If so, he was not long in
discovering his mistake. Whatever professions Frederic might make, or
whatever rigor he might exercise in his Sicilian dominions, it was no
part of his policy to estrange the Ghibelline leaders, or to strengthen
the Guelfic factions in the turbulent little republics which he sought
to reduce to subjection. His whole reign was an internecine conflict,
open or concealed, with Rome, and he was too much of a free-thinker to
have any scruples as to the sources whence he could draw strength for
himself or annoyance for his enemy. In central and upper Italy,
therefore, his laws were for the most part virtually a dead letter.
Already, in 1221, Ezzelin da Romano, the most powerful Ghibelline in the
March of Treviso, was complained of for the protection which he afforded
to heretics, and his continuing to do so to the end shows that he found
it to be good policy. When, in 1227, Ingheramo da Macerata, the late
podestà of Rimini, was persecuted by the citizens because he had
delivered for burning as heretics some of their daughters and sisters,
and because he had wished to inscribe on their statute-books the
constitutions of Frederic, it was not to the emperor that he applied for
protection, but to Honorius III.[219]

Something more than imperial edicts was plainly necessary, and Honorius,
in casting around for methods to check the spread of heresy, appointed,
in 1224, the Bishops of Brescia and Modena as commissioners with special
powers to exterminate the heretics of Lombardy--as inquisitors, in fact,
this being one of the steps which gradually led to the establishment of
the Inquisition, the usefulness of the Dominicans in this respect not
having yet been divined. The Bishop of Modena, however, undertook a
mission to convert the pagans of Prussia, and the Bishop of Rimini was
substituted in his place. The prelates commenced with Brescia itself,
whose prelate doubtless knew where to strike. They ordered the tearing
down of certain houses where heretical preachers had been accustomed to
hold forth. At once an armed insurrection broke out. The perennial
factions of the city took sides. Several churches were burned, and the
heretics parodied from them the anathema by casting lighted torches from
the windows, and solemnly excommunicating all members of the Church of
Rome. It was not until after a severe and prolonged conflict that the
Catholics obtained the upper hand, and then the terms prescribed by
Honorius were so mild as to indicate that it was not deemed politic to
drive the defeated party to despair. All excommunicates were required to
apply personally for absolution to the Holy See. The fortified houses of
the lords of Gambara, of Ugona, of the Oriani, of the sons of Botatio,
who had been the leader in the troubles, were ordered to be razed to the
ground, never to be rebuilt, while other strongholds, which had been
defended against the Catholics, were to be cut down one-third or
one-half. Benificed clerks who were children of heretics or of fautors
were to be suspended for three years or more as their individual
participation in the troubles might indicate. A levy of three hundred
and thirty lire was ordered on the clergy of Lombardy and the
Trivigiana to recompense the Catholics for the losses endured in
contending with the heretics. So unaccustomed as yet were the Lombards
to persecution that even these conditions were deemed too harsh. The
city of Milan interceded, and finally even the authorities of Brescia
itself urged that moderation would be conducive to peace; and, May 1,
1226, Honorius authorized the bishops to use their discretion in
diminishing the penalties. When, however, the Dominican Guala was
elected Bishop of Brescia in 1230, he speedily succeeded in introducing
in the local statutes the law of Frederic, of March, 1224, which decreed
for heretics the stake or loss of the tongue, and he forced the podestà
to swear to its execution.[220]

Gregory IX. was a man of sterner temper than Honorius, and, despite his
octogenary age, his advent to the pontificate, in 1227, was the signal
for unrelenting war on heresy. Within three weeks of his accession peace
was signed, under the auspices of the papacy, between Frederic II. and
the Lombard League, with provisions for the suppression of heresy.
Gregory immediately, in the most imperious fashion, summoned the
Lombards to perform their duty. Hitherto, he told them, all their
pretended efforts had been fraudulent. No enforcement of the imperial
constitutions had been attempted. If the heretics had at any time been
driven away, it was with a secret understanding that they would be
allowed to return and dwell in peace. If fines had been inflicted, the
money had been covertly refunded. If statutes had been enacted, there
was always a reservation by which they were rendered ineffective. Thus
heresy had grown and strengthened while the liberties of the Church had
been subverted. Heretics had been permitted to preach their doctrines
publicly, while ecclesiastics had been outlawed and imprisoned. All this
must cease, the provisions of the treaty of peace must be enforced, and,
if they continued in their evil courses, the Holy See would find means
to coerce them in their perversity.[221]

These were brave words, though the political condition of Lombardy
rendered them ineffective. Nearer home, however, Gregory had fairer
opportunity of enforcing his will, and we have already seen how
promptly he recognized the utility of the Order of Dominic and laid the
foundations of the Inquisition by his tentative action in Florence.
While this was taking shape his zeal was stimulated by the discovery, in
1231, that in Rome itself heresy had become so bold that it ventured to
assert itself openly, and that many priests and other ecclesiastics had
been converted. Probably the first _auto de fé_ on record was that held
by the Senator Annibaldo at the portal of Santa Maria Maggiore, when
these unfortunates were burned or condemned to perpetual prison, and
Gregory took advantage of the occasion to issue the decretal which
became the basis of inquisitorial procedure, and to procure the
enactment of severe secular laws in the name of the senator. The details
I have already given (Vol. I. p. 325), and they need not be repeated
here; but Gregory did not content himself with what he thus accomplished
in Rome. His aid just then was desirable to Frederic II. in his Lombard
complications, and to Gregory’s urgency may doubtless be attributed the
severe legislation of the Sicilian Constitutions, issued about this
time, and the Ravenna decrees of 1232. Shortly afterwards, indeed, we
find Frederic writing to him that they are like father and son; that
they should sharpen the spiritual and temporal swords respectively
committed to them against heretics and rebels, without wasting effort on
sophistry, for if time be spent in disputation nature will succumb to
disease. It is not probable that Gregory counted much on the zeal of the
emperor, but he sent the edict of Annibaldo to Milan, with instructions
that it be adopted and enforced there. Already, in 1228, his legate,
Goffredo, Cardinal of San Marco, had obtained of the Milanese the
enactment of a law by which the houses of heretics were to be destroyed,
and the secular authorities were required to put to death within ten
days all who were condemned by the Church; but thus far no executions
seem to have taken place under it.[222]

It was now that Gregory, seeing the futility of all efforts thus far
save those which the Dominicans were making in Florence, hit upon the
final and successful experiment of confiding to the Order the
suppression of heresy as part of their regular duties. A fresh impulse
was felt all along the line. The Church suddenly found that it could
count upon an unexpected reserve of enthusiasm, boundless and
exhaustless, despising danger and reckless of consequences, which in the
end could hardly fail to triumph. A new class of men now appears upon
the scene--San Piero Martire, Giovanni da Vicenza, Rolando da Cremona,
Rainerio Saccone--worthy to rank with their brethren in Languedoc, who
devoted themselves to what they held to be their duty with a singleness
of purpose which must command respect, however repulsive their labors
may seem to us. On one hand these men had an easier task than their
Western colleagues, for they had not to contend with the jealousy, or
submit to the control, of the bishops. The independence of the Italian
episcopate had been broken down in the eleventh century. Besides, the
bishops naturally belonged to the Guelfic faction, and welcomed any
allies who promised to aid them in crushing the antagonistic party in
their turbulent cities. On the other hand, the political dissensions
which raged everywhere with savage ferocity increased enormously the
difficulties and dangers of the task.

In Italy, as in France, the organization of the Inquisition was gradual.
It advanced step by step, the earlier proceedings, as we have seen both
in Florence and Toulouse, being characterized by little regularity. As
the tribunal by degrees assumed shape, a definite code of procedure was
established which was virtually the same everywhere, except with regard
to the power of confiscation, the application of the profits of
persecution, and the acquittal of the innocent. To these attention has
already been called, and they need not detain us further. The problems
which the founders of the Inquisition had to meet in Italy, and the
methods in which these were met, can best be illustrated by a rapid
glance at what remains to us of the careers of some of the earnest men
who undertook the apparently hopeless task.

The earliest name I have met with bearing the title of Inquisitor of
Lombardy is that of a Frà Alberico in 1232. The Cardinal Legate
Goffredo, whom we have seen busy in Milan, undertook to quiet civil
strife in Bergamo, with the consent of all factions, by appointing as
podestà Pier Torriani of Milan; and at the same time he seized the
opportunity to make a raid on heretics, a number of whom he cast into
prison. No sooner was his back turned than the citizens refused to
receive his podestà, elected in his place a certain R. di Madello, and,
what was worse, set at liberty the captive heretics. Thereupon the
legate placed the city under interdict, which brought the people to
their senses, and they agreed to stand to the mandate of the Church.
Gregory accordingly, November 3, 1232, instructed Alberico, as
Inquisitor of Lombardy, to reconcile the city on condition that the
people refund to Pier Torriani all his expenses and give sufficient
security to exterminate heresy. Here we see how intimate were the
relations between politics and heresy, and what difficulties the
alliance threw in the way of persecution.[223]

Frà Rolando da Cremona we have already met as professor in the inchoate
University of Toulouse, and we have seen how rigid and unbending was his
zeal. Hardly had he quitted Langueduc when we find him, in 1233, already
actively at work in the congenial duty of suppressing heresy at
Piacenza. The twenty-five years which had elapsed since the Piacenzans
had shown themselves so indifferent to their spiritual privileges had
not greatly increased their respect for orthodoxy. Rolando assembled
them, preached to them, and then ordered the podestà to expel the
heretics. The result did not correspond to his expectations. With the
connivance of the podestà, the heretics and their friends arose and made
a general onslaught on the clergy, including the bishop and the friars,
in which a monk of San Sabino was slain and Rolando and some of his
comrades were wounded. The Dominicans carried Rolando half-dead from the
city, which was placed under interdict by the bishop. Then a revulsion
of feeling occurred; Rolando was asked to return, and full satisfaction
was promised. He prudently kept away, but ordered the imprisonment of
the podestà and twenty-four others till the pleasure of the pope should
be known. Gregory took advantage of the opportunity by sending thither
the Archdeacon of Novara, with instructions to place the city under
control of the orthodox party, taking ample security that the heretics
should be suppressed; but this arrangement did not please the citizens,
who rose again and liberated the prisoners. Sharp as was this
experience, it did not dull the edge of Rolando’s zeal, for the next
year we find him at work in the Milanese, where he received rough
treatment at the hands of Lantelmo, a noble who sheltered heretics in
his castle near Lodi. For this Lantelmo was condemned to be led through
the streets, stripped and with a halter around his neck, to Rolando’s
presence, and there to accept such penance as the friar, at command of
the pope, might enjoin on him. A month later we hear of his seizing two
Florentine merchants, Feriabente and Capso, with all their goods. They
evidently were persons of importance, for Gregory ordered their release
in view of having received bail for them in the enormous sum of two
thousand silver marks.[224]

During this transition period, while the Inquisition was slowly taking
shape, one of the most notable of the Dominicans engaged in the work of
persecution was Giovanni Schio da Vicenza. I have alluded in a previous
chapter to his marvellous career as a pacificator, and it may perhaps
not be unjust to assume that his motive in employing his unequalled
eloquence in harmonizing discordant factions was not only the Christian
desire for peace, but also to remove the obstruction to persecution
caused by perpetual strife, for in almost all these movements we may
trace the connection between heresy and politics. After his wonderful
success at Bologna, Gregory urged him to undertake a similar mission to
Florence, where constant civic war was accompanied by recrudescence of
heresy. In spite of the efforts of the embryonic Inquisition there,
heresy was undisguised, and the ministers of Christ were openly opposed
and ridiculed. Gregory assumed that Giovanni acted under the direct
inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and did not venture to send him orders,
but only requests. He was, like all his colleagues, popularly regarded
as a thaumaturgist, and stories were told of his crossing rivers
dry-shod, and causing vultures to descend from on high at his simple
command. The Bolognese were so loath to part with him that they used
gentle violence to retain him, and only let him go after Gregory had
ordered their city laid under interdict, and had threatened to deprive
of its episcopal dignity any place which should detain him against his
will. After completely succeeding in his mission to Florence he was
despatched on a similar one to Lombardy. The League, which had been so
efficient an instrument in curbing the imperial power, was breaking up.
Fears were entertained that Frederic would soon return from Germany with
an army, and a portion of the Lombard cities and nobles were disposed to
invite him. Some countervailing influence was required, and nothing more
effective than Giovanni’s eloquence could be resorted to. At Padua,
Treviso, Conigliano, Ceneda, Oderzo, Belluno, and Feltre he preached on
the text “Blessed are the feet of the bearers of peace” with such
effect that even the terrible Ezzelin da Romano is said to have twice
burst into tears. The whole land was pacified, save the ancestral
quarrel between Ezzelin and the counts of Campo San Piero, which
unpardonable wrongs had rendered implacable. After a visit to Mantua,
the apostle of peace went to Verona, then besieged by an army of
Mantuans, Bolognese, Brescians, and Faenzans, where he persuaded the
assailants to withdraw, and the Veronese, in gratitude, proclaimed him
podestà by acclamation. He promptly made use of the position to burn in
the market-place some sixty heretics of both sexes, belonging to the
noblest families of the city. Then he summoned to a great assembly in a
plain hard by all the confederate cities and nobles. Obedient to his
call there came the Patriarch of Aquileia, the Bishops of Mantua,
Brescia, Bologna, Modena, Reggio, Treviso, Vicenza, Padua, and Ceneda,
Ezzelin da Romano, the Marquis of Este, who was Lord of Mantua, the
Count of San Bonifacio, who ruled Ferrara, and delegates from all the
cities, with their carrochi. The multitude was diversely estimated at
from forty thousand to five hundred thousand souls, who were wrought by
his eloquence to the utmost enthusiasm of mutual forgiveness. After
denouncing as rebels and enemies of the Church all who adhered to
Frederic or invited him to Italy, Giovanni induced his auditors to swear
to accept such settlement of their quarrels as he should dictate, and
when he announced the terms they unanimously signed the treaty.[225]

So great became his reputation that Gregory IX. was seriously disturbed
at a report that Giovanni contemplated making himself pope. A consistory
was assembled to consider the advisability of excommunicating him, and
that step would have been taken had not the Bishop of Modena sworn upon
a missal that he had once seen an angel descend from heaven while
Giovanni was speaking, and place a golden cross upon his brow. A
confidential mission was sent to Bologna to investigate his career
there, which returned with authentic accounts of numberless miracles
performed by him, among them no less than ten resuscitations of the
dead. So holy a man could not well be thrust from the pale of the
Church, and the project was abandoned.[226]

Meanwhile he had visited his native place, Vicenza, on invitation of the
bishop, and had so impressed the people that they gave him their
statutes to revise at his pleasure, and proclaimed him duke, marquis,
and count of the city--titles which belonged to the bishop, who also
offered to make over the episcopate to him. As at Verona, he used his
power to burn a number of heretics. During his absence at Verona,
Uguccione Pileo, an enemy of the Schia family, induced the people to
revolt, when Giovanni hastened back and suppressed the rebellion,
putting to death, with torture, a number of citizens, who are charitably
supposed to have been heretics. Uguccione brought up reinforcements; a
fierce battle was fought in the streets, and Giovanni was worsted and
taken prisoner. A letter of condolence, addressed to him in prison, by
Gregory, under date of September 22, 1233, serves to fix the date of
this, and to show how powerless was the papacy to protect its agents in
the fierce dissensions of the period. Giovanni was obliged to ransom
himself and return to Verona, and thence to Bologna. The peace which he
had effected was of short duration. The chronic wars broke out afresh,
and Giovanni, at the instance of Gregory, came again to pacify them. In
this he succeeded, but no sooner was his back turned than hostilities
were renewed. Gregory made a third attempt, through the Bishops of
Reggio and Treviso, who induced the warring factions to lay down their
arms for a while; but the main object, of presenting a united front and
keeping Frederic out of Italy, was lost, Ezzelin and a number of the
cities urged his coming, and the decisive victory of Cortenuova, in
November, 1237, dissolved the Lombard League which had so long held the
empire in check, and made him master of Lombardy.[227]

During all this time Gregory had been untiring in his efforts to subdue
heresy in Lombardy, undeterred by the disheartening lack of result. All
his legates to that province were duly instructed to regard this as one
of their chief duties. In May, 1236, he had even attempted to establish
there a rudimentary Inquisition, but, in the existing condition of the
land, even he could hardly have expected to accomplish anything.
Frederic came with professions that the extirpation of heresy was one of
the motives impelling him to the enterprise; and when Gregory reproached
him with suppressing the preaching of the friars and thus favoring
heresy, he astutely retorted, with a reference to Giovanni, by alluding
to those who, under pretext of making war on heresy, were busy in
establishing themselves as potentates, and were taking castles as
security from those suspect in faith. Gregory, in reply, could only
disclaim all responsibility for the acts of the adventurous friar. Yet
Gregory himself, when it suited his Lombard policy, did not hesitate to
relax his severity against the heretics, and it became a popular cry in
Germany that he had been bribed with their gold.[228]

For some years Giovanni Schio led a comparatively quiet existence in
Bologna, but in 1247, by which time the Inquisition was fairly taking
shape, Innocent IV. appointed him perpetual inquisitor throughout
Lombardy, arming him with full powers and releasing him from all
subjection or accountability to the Dominican general or provincial. In
the existing condition of the north of Italy the commission was
virtually inoperative, and its only interest lies in its terms, which
show that up to this time there was no organized Inquisition there. We
hear nothing further of his activity, even after the death of Frederic,
in 1250, until, in 1256, the long-delayed crusade was undertaken against
Ezzelin da Romano. By his fiery eloquence he raised in Bologna a
considerable force of crusaders, at whose head he marched against the
tyrant of the Trevisan, but, disgusted with the quarrels of the leaders,
he returned to Bologna before the final catastrophe, and he is supposed
to have perished, in 1265, in the crusade against Manfred, when there
was a contingent of ten thousand Bolognese in the army of Charles of

Yet the most noteworthy in all respects of the dauntless zealots who
fought the seemingly desperate battle against heresy was Piero da
Verona, better known as St. Peter Martyr. Born at Verona in 1203 or
1206, of a heretic family, his legend relates that he was divinely led
to recognize their errors. When a schoolboy of only seven years of age
his uncle chanced to ask him what he learned, and he repeated the
orthodox creed. His uncle thereupon told him he must not say that God
created the heaven and the earth, for he was not the creator of the
visible universe; but the child, filled with the Holy Ghost, overcame
his elder in argument, who thereupon urged the parents to remove him
from school, but the father, who hoped to see him become a leader of the
sect, allowed him to complete his education. His orthodox zeal grew with
his growth, and in 1221 he entered the Dominican Order. His confessor
testified that he never committed a mortal sin, and the bull of his
canonization bears emphatic evidence to his humility, his meek
obedience, his sweet benignity, his exhaustless compassion, his
unfailing patience, his wonderful charity, his passionate supplications
to God for martyrdom, and the innumerable miracles which illustrated his

Before the Dominicans were armed with the power of persecution Piero
earnestly devoted himself to the original function of the Order, that of
controverting heresy, and preaching against heretics. In this the
success of the young apostle was marvellously aided by his thaumaturgic
development. At Ravenna, Mantua, Venice, Milan, and other places,
numerous wonders are related of his performance. Thus, at Cesena, the
success of his efforts at conversion irritated the heretics, who, on one
occasion, interrupted his preaching in the public square by volleys of
filth and stones discharged from a house near by. He several times
mildly entreated them to desist, but in vain, when, inspired by divine
wrath, he launched a terrible imprecation against them. Instantly the
house crumbled in ruin, burying the sacrilegious wretches, nor could it
be rebuilt until long afterwards.[231]

When the Dominicans were charged with the duty of persecution his
earnest zeal naturally caused him to be selected as one of the earliest
laborers. In 1233 he was sent to Milan, where, thus far, all the efforts
of papal missives and legates had proved ineffectual to rouse the
authorities and the citizens to undertake the holy work. The laws which,
in 1228, Cardinal Goffredo had inscribed on the statute-book had
remained a dead letter. All this was changed when Piero da Verona made
his influence felt. Not only did he cause Gregory’s legislation of 1231
to be adopted in the municipal law, but he stimulated the podestà,
Oldrado da Tresseno, and the archbishop, Enrico da Settala, to work in
earnest. A number of heretics were burned, who were probably the first
victims of fanaticism which Milan had seen since the time of the Cathari
of Monforte. So strong was the impression made by these executions that
they earned for the podestà Oldrado the honor of an equestrian portrait
in bas-relief, with the inscription, “_Qui solium struxit, Catharos ut
debuit uxit_,” which is still to be seen adorning the wall of the Sala
del Consiglio, now the Archivio pubblico. It fared worse with the
archbishop, who was rendered so unpopular that he was banished, for
which the magistracy was duly excommunicated; but he, too, had
posthumous reward, for his tomb bore the legend “_instituto inquisitore
jugulavit hœreses_.” Piero likewise founded in Milan a company, or
association, for the suppression of heresy, which was taken under
immediate papal protection--the model of that which ten years later did
such bloody work in Florence. We may safely assume that his fiery
activity continued unabated, though we hear nothing of him until 1242,
when we again find him in Milan so vigorously at work that he is said
to have caused a sedition which nearly ruined the city.[232]

Two years later we meet him fighting heresy in Florence. That city, it
will be remembered, was the subject of the earliest inquisitorial
experiments, Frà Giovanni di Salerno, Prior of Santa Maria Novella,
having been commissioned to prosecute heretics in 1228, and being
succeeded after his death, in 1230, by Frà Aldobrandini Cavalcante, and
about 1241 by Frà Ruggieri Calcagni. The first two of these accomplished
little, being, in fact, rather preachers than inquisitors. The heretics
were protected by the Ghibelline faction and the partisans of Frederic
II., and heresy, far from decreasing, spread rapidly in spite of
occasional burnings. When the Catharan Bishop Paternon fled, his
position was successively held by three others, Torsello, Brunnetto, and
Giacopo da Montefiascone. Many of the most powerful families were
heretics or open defenders of heresy--the Baroni, Pulci, Cipriani,
Cavalcanti, Saraceni, and Malpresa. The Baroni built a stronghold at San
Gaggio, beyond the walls, which served as a refuge for the Perfected,
and there were plenty of houses in the town where they could hold their
conventicles in safety. The Cipriani had two palaces, one at Mugnone and
the other in Florence, where troops of Cathari assembled under the
leadership of a heresiarch named Marchisiano, and there were great
schools at Poggibonsi, Pian di Cascia, and Ponte a Sieve.[233]

The whole of central Italy, in fact, was almost as deeply infected with
heresy as Lombardy, and little had as yet been done to purify it. That
as late as 1235 no comprehensive attempt had been made to establish the
Inquisition is shown by a papal brief addressed in that year to the
Dominicans of Viterbo, empowering them, in all the dioceses of Tuscany,
Viterbo, Orta, Balneoreggio, Castro, Soano, Amerino, and Narni, to
absolve heretics not publicly defamed for heresy, who should
spontaneously accuse themselves, provided the bishops assented and
sufficient bail were given; and the bishops were ordered to co-operate.
Heretics not thus voluntarily confessing were to be dealt with according
to the papal statutes. At Viterbo dwelt Giovanni da Benevento, who was
called the pope of the heretics, but it was not until Gregory went
thither in 1237 and undertook the task of purifying the place himself
that any efficient action was taken; he condemned Giovanni and many
other heretics, and ordered the palaces of some of the noblest families
of the city to be torn down, as having afforded refuge to heretics. At
the same time the Bishop of Padua was urged to persevere in the good
work, and at Parma the Knights of Jesus Christ were instituted with the
same object by Jordan, the Dominican general. All this indicates the
commencement of systematic operations, and the pressure grew stronger
year by year. Under the energetic management of Ruggieri Calcagni the
Florentine Inquisition rapidly took shape and executions became
frequent, while in the confessions of the accused allusions are made to
heretics burned elsewhere, showing that persecution was becoming active
wherever political conditions rendered it possible. Thus in a confession
of 1244 there is a reference to two, Maffeo and Martello, burned not
long before at Pisa.[234]

In Florence Frà Ruggieri’s vigor was reducing the heretics to
desperation. Each trial revealed fresh names, and as the circle spread
the prosecutions became more numerous and terrible. The Signoria was
coerced by papal letters to enforce the citations of the inquisitor, and
as the prisoners multiplied and their depositions were taken, fully a
third of the citizens, including many nobles, were found to be involved.
Excited by the magnitude of the developments, Ruggieri determined to
strike at the chiefs, and, invoking the aid of the Priors of the Arts,
he seized a number of them and condemned to the stake those who proved
contumacious. The time had evidently come when they must choose between
open resistance and destruction. The Baroni assembled their followers,
broke open the jails, and carried off the prisoners, who were
distributed through various strongholds in the Florentine territory,
where they continued to preach and spread their doctrines.

Matters were rapidly approaching a crisis. On the one hand it was
impossible for so large a body as the heretics to permit themselves to
be slaughtered in detail with impunity, to say nothing of the
spoliation and gratification of private feuds which could not fail to
involve the innocent with the guilty in a persecution of such extent so
recklessly pursued. On the other hand, the persecutors were maddened
with excitement and with the prospects of at last triumphing over the
adversaries who had so long defied them. Innocent IV. wrote pressingly
to the Signoria commanding energetic support for the inquisitor, and he
summoned from Lombardy Piero da Verona to lend his aid in the
approaching struggle. Towards the end of 1244 Piero hastened to the
conflict, and his eloquence drew such crowds that the Piazza di Santa
Maria Novella had to be enlarged to accommodate the multitude. He
utilized the enthusiasm by enrolling the orthodox nobles in a guard to
protect the Dominicans, and formed a military order under the name of
the Società de’ Capitani di Santa Maria, uniformed in a white doublet
with a red cross, and these led the organization known as the Compagnia
della Fede, sworn to defend the Inquisition at all hazards, under
privileges granted by the Holy See. Thus encouraged and supported,
Ruggieri pushed forward the trials, and numbers of victims were burned.
This was a challenge which the heretics could only decline under pain of
annihilation. They likewise organized under the lead of the Baroni, and
it was not difficult to persuade the podestà, Ser Pace di Pesannola of
Bergamo, recently appointed by Frederic II., that the interest of his
master required him to protect them. Thus the perennial quarrel between
the Church and the empire filled the streets of Florence with bloodshed
under the banners of orthodoxy and heterodoxy.

Ruggieri provoked the conflict without flinching. He cited the Baroni
before him, and when they contemptuously refused to appear he procured a
special mandate from Innocent IV. This they obeyed with the utmost
docility, about August 1, 1245, swearing to stand to the mandates of the
Church, and depositing one thousand lire as security; but when they
understood that he was about to render sentence against them, they
appealed to the podestà. Ser Pace thereupon sent his officers, August
12, to Ruggieri, ordering him to annul the proceedings as contrary to
the mandate of the emperor, to return the money taken as bail, and, in
case of contumacy, to appear the next day before the podestà under
penalty of a thousand marks. Ruggieri’s only notice of this was a
summons the next day to Ser Pace to appear before the Inquisition as
suspect of heresy and fautorship, under pain of forfeiture of office.
The fervid rhetoric of Frà Piero poured oil upon the flames, and the
city found itself divided into two factions, not unequally matched and
eager to fly at each other. Taking advantage of the assembling of the
faithful in the churches on a feast-day, the podestà sounded the tocsin,
and many unarmed Catholics are said to have been slaughtered before the
altars. Then on St. Bartholomew’s day (August 24) Ruggieri and Bishop
Ardingho, in the Piazza di S. Maria Novella, publicly read a sentence
condemning the Baroni, confiscating their possessions, and ordering
their castles and palaces to be destroyed, which naturally led to a
bloody collision between the factions. Piero then placed himself at the
head of the Compagnia della Fede, carrying a standard like the other
captains, among whom the de’ Rossi were the most conspicuous. Under his
leadership two murderous battles were fought, one at the Croce al
Trebbio and the other in the Piazza di S. Felicità, in both of which the
heretics were utterly routed. Monuments still mark the scene of these
victories; and, until recent times, the banner which San Piero gave to
the de’ Rossi was still carried by the Compagnia di San Piero Martire
on the celebration of his birthday, April 29, while the one which he
bore himself is preserved among the relics of Santa Maria Novella and is
publicly displayed on his feast-day.

Thus was destroyed in Florence the power of the heretics and of the
Ghibellines. Ruggieri, for his steadfast courage, was rewarded, before
the close of 1245, with the bishopric of Castro, and was succeeded as
inquisitor by San Piero himself, whose indefatigable zeal allowed the
heretics no rest. Many of them, recognizing the futility of further
resistance, abandoned their errors; others fled, and when Piero left
Florence he could boast that heresy was conquered and the Inquisition
established on an impregnable basis; though Rainerio’s estimate of the
Florentine Cathari, some years later, shows that it still had an ample
harvest to reward its labors.[235]

While Ruggieri, in the summer of 1245, was precipitating the conflict in
Florence, Innocent IV., in the Council of Lyons, was passing sentence of
dethronement on Frederic II. and trying to find some aspirant hardy
enough to accept the imperial crown. Frederic laughed the sentence to
scorn and easily disposed of his would-be competitors, but he was
obliged to struggle hard to maintain his Italian possessions, and his
death, December 13, 1250, relieved the papacy from the most formidable
antagonist which its ambitious designs had ever encountered. Skilled
equally in the arts of war and peace, untiring in activity, dismayed by
no reverses, intellectually far in advance of his age, and encumbered
with few scruples, Frederic’s brilliant abilities and indomitable
courage had been the one obstacle in the papal path towards domination
over Italy and the foundation on that basis of a universal theocratic
monarchy. His son, Conrad IV., a youth of twenty-one, was scarce to be
dreaded in comparison, though Innocent cautiously waited for a while in
Lyons before venturing into Italy. After reaching Genoa, June 8, 1251,
he addressed to Piero da Verona and Viviano da Bergamo a brief which
shows that the intervening six months had not sufficed to dull the sense
of rejoicing at the death of his great opponent, and that no more time
was to be lost in taking full advantage of the opportunity. A
dithyrambic burst of exultation is followed by the declaration that
thanks to God for this inestimable mercy are to be rendered not so much
in words as in deeds, and of these the most acceptable is the
purification of the faith. Frederic’s favor towards heretics had long
impeded the operations of the Inquisition throughout Italy, and now that
he is removed it is to be put into action everywhere with all possible
vigor. Inquisitors are to be sent into all parts of Lombardy; Piero and
Viviano are ordered to proceed forthwith to Cremona, armed with all
necessary powers; rulers who do not zealously assist them will be
coerced with the spiritual sword, and, if this proves insufficient,
Christendom will be aroused to destroy them in a crusade. This bull was
followed by a rapid succession of others addressed to the Dominican
provincials and to potentates, ordering strenuous co-operation, and the
inscription in all local statutes of the constitutions of the dead
emperor and of the popes--bulls issued in such haste that, June 13,
1252, the pope was obliged to explain that the blunders and omissions
arising from the hurried work of the scribes are not to invalidate them.
The whole was crowned, May 15, 1252, by the issue of the bull _Ad
extirpanda_, of which I have given an abstract in a former chapter. This
sought to render the civil power completely subservient to the
Inquisition, and prescribed the extirpation of heresy as the chief duty
of the State.[236]

Innocent’s mandate probably found Piero at the convent of San Giovanni
in Canali at Piacenza, of which he was prior in 1250, and where his
austerities so impressed his brethren that they begged his friend,
Matteo da Correggio, pretor of the city, to induce him to moderate them,
lest the flesh which he so persistently macerated should give way under
the ardent spirit within. If, in fact, we are to believe the statement
that he habitually never broke his fast before sunset, and that he
passed most of the night in prayer, restricting his sleep to the least
that was compatible with life, his career becomes easily intelligible.
Deficiency of nourishment, replaced by unceasing and unnatural nervous
exaltation, must have rendered him virtually an irresponsible

We have no details of what he accomplished as inquisitor at Cremona, or
at Milan to which he was afterwards transferred. It is presumable,
however, that his relentless activity fully responded to the
expectations of those who had selected him as the fittest instrument to
take advantage, in the headquarters of heresy, of the unexpected
opportunity to visit the now defenceless heretics with the wrath of God.
Within nine months after he had been summoned to action he had already
become such an object of terror that in despair a plot was laid for his
assassination. The matter was intrusted to Stefano Confaloniero, a noble
of Aliate, and the hire of the assassins, twenty-five lire, was
furnished by Guidotto Sachella. The week before Easter (March 23-30),
1252, Stefano proposed the murder to Manfredo Clitoro of Giussano, who
agreed to do it, and associated with him Carino da Balsamo. At the same
time Giacopo della Chiusa undertook to go to Pavia to slay Rainerio
Saccone, and made the journey, but failed to accomplish his mission. The
other conspirators were more successful. Frà Piero at that time was
Prior of Como, and went thither to pass his Easter. He was obliged to
return to Milan on Low Sunday, April 7, as on that day expired the term
of fifteen days which he had assigned to a contumacious heretic. During
Easter week Stefano, with Manfredo and Carino, went to Como and awaited
Piero’s departure. It shows the fearlessness and the austerity of the
man that he set out on foot, April 7, though weakened with a quartain
fever, and accompanied only by a single friar, Domenico. Manfredo and
Carino followed them as far as Barlassina, and set upon them in a lonely
spot. Carino acted as executioner, laying open Piero’s head with a
single blow, mortally wounding Domenico, and then, finding that Piero
still breathed, plunging a dagger in his breast. Some passing travellers
carried the body of the martyr to the convent of San Sempliciano, while
Domenico was conveyed to Meda, where he died five days afterwards. As
for the conspirators, I have already alluded to the strange delay which
postponed for forty-three years the final sentence of Stefano
Confaloniero, and to the repentance and beatification of Carino, who
became St. Acerinus. Daniele da Giussano, another of the confederates,
also repented and entered the Dominican Order. Giacopo della Chiusa
seems to have escaped, and Manfredo and a certain Tommaso were captured
and confessed. Manfredo admitted that he had been concerned in the
murder of two other inquisitors, Frà Pier di Bracciano and Frà Catalano,
both Franciscans, at Ombraida in Lombardy. He was simply ordered to
present himself to the pope for judgment, but in place of obeying he
very naturally fled, and there is no record of his subsequent fate. No
one seems to have been put to death, and common report asserted that the
assassins found a safe refuge among the Waldenses of the Alpine valleys,
which is not improbable.[238]

In fact, the Church made much shrewder use of the martyrdom than the
exaction of vulgar vengeance. Its whole machinery was set to work at
once to impress the populations with the sanctity of the martyr.
Miracles multiplied around him. When the General Chapter of the Order
assembled at Bologna in May, Innocent wrote to them in terms of the most
extravagant hyperbole respecting him, and urged them to fresh exertions
in the cause of Christ. By August 31, he ordered the commencement of
proceedings of canonization, and before a year had elapsed, March 25,
1253, the bull of canonization was issued--I believe the most speedy
creation of a saint on record. It would be difficult to exaggerate the
cult which developed itself around the martyr. Before the century was
out, Giacopo di Voragine compared his martyrdom with that of Christ,
establishing many similitudes between them, and he assures us that the
disappearance of heresy in the Milanese was owing to the merits of the
saint--indeed, already, in the bull of canonization it is asserted that
many heretics had been converted by his death and miracles. It is true
that when, in 1291, Frà Tommaso d’Aversa, a Dominican of Naples, in a
sermon on the feast of San Piero dared to compare his wounds with the
stigmata of St. Francis--saying that the former were the signs of the
living God and not of the dead, while the latter were those of the dead
God and not of the living--it is true that the expression was thought to
savor of blasphemy. The existing pope, Nicholas IV., chanced to be a
Franciscan, so Tommaso was summoned before him, forced to confess, and
was sent back to his provincial with orders to subject him to a
punishment that would prevent a repetition of the sacrilege. Yet
successive popes encouraged the cult of San Piero until Sixtus V., in
1586, designated him as the second head of the Inquisition after St.
Dominic, and as its first martyr, and in 1588 granted plenary indulgence
to all who should visit for devotion the Dominican churches on the days
of St. Dominic, Peter Martyr, and Catharine of Siena. In the seventeenth
century an enthusiastic Spaniard declared that he was crowned with three
crowns, “_como Emperador de Martyres_.” In 1373, Gregory XI. granted
permission to erect a small oratory on the spot of the murder, which
grew to be a magnificent church with a splendid convent, through the
offerings of the innumerable pilgrims who flocked thither. The
authenticity of the martyr’s sanctity was proved when, in 1340,
eighty-seven years after death, the body was translated to a tomb of
marvellous workmanship, and was found in a perfect state of
preservation; and when the sepulchre was opened in 1736 it was still
found uncorrupted, with wounds corresponding exactly to those described
in the annals.[239]

The enthusiasm excited by the career of San Piero was turned to
practical account by the organization in most of the Italian cities of
_Crocesegnati_, composed of the principal cavaliers, who swore to defend
and assist the inquisitors at peril of their lives, and to devote person
and property to the extermination of heretics, for which service they
received plenary remission of all their sins. These associations were
wont to assemble on the feast of San Piero in the Dominican churches,
which were the seats of the Inquisition, and hold aloft their drawn
swords during the reading of the Gospel, in testimony of their readiness
to crush heresy with force. They continued to exist until the last
century, and Frà Pier-Tommaso Campana, who was inquisitor at Crema,
relates with pride how, in 1738, he presided over such a ceremony in
Milan. The Crocesegnati, moreover, furnished material support to the
inquisitors, supplying them when necessary with both men and money for
the performance of their functions. In fact, they were subject to
excommunication if they refused to give money when called upon by the
inquisitor. It can readily be conceived how greatly the effectiveness of
the Inquisition was increased by such an organization.[240]

If the heretics had hoped to strike their persecutors with terror they
were short-sighted. The fanaticism of the Order of Dominic furnished an
unfailing supply of men eager for the crown of martyrdom and unsparing
in their efforts to earn it. Hardly were the splendid obsequies of San
Piero completed when his place was occupied by Guido da Sesto and
Rainerio Saccone da Vicenza. The latter had been high in the Catharan
Church, when, divinely illuminated as to his errors, he was converted
and expiated his past life by entering the strict Dominican Order. It
was possibly in his favor that in 1246 Innocent IV. authorized the
Dominican prior at Milan to admit repentant heretics into the Order
without requiring the year’s novitiate that was imposed on Catholics.
Thoroughly acquainted with all the secrets of heresy, he could render
invaluable aid in persecuting his old associates, whom he pursued with
all the ruthless bigotry of an apostate. He was speedily made an
inquisitor, and earned an enviable reputation among the faithful by his
vigor and success in exterminating heresy. The fact that, as we have
seen, he was singled out with San Piero by the conspirators to be slain
shows how thoroughly he had earned the hate of the persecuted. We know
nothing of the details of the attempt upon his life save that Giacopo
della Chiusa returned from Pavia with his errand unaccomplished.
Rainerio was at once transferred to Milan as the man best fitted to
replace the martyr, and he justified the selection by the unbending
firmness with which he vindicated the authority of his office. It was
still a novelty in Lombardy, and a man of his keen intelligence,
strength of purpose, and self-devotion was required to organize it and
establish it among a recalcitrant population.[241]

Heretics, in fact, were more numerous than ever in Lombardy, for the
active work carried on in Languedoc by Bernard de Caux and his
colleagues had caused a wholesale emigration. Until the death of
Frederic, Lombardy was regarded as a secure haven; colonies established
themselves there, and even after the Lombard Inquisition was thoroughly
organized the persecuted wretches continued for half a century to seek
refuge there, nor do we often hear of their being detected.[242] All of
Rainerio’s resolution and energy were required for the work before him.
In the March of Treviso, Ezzelin da Romano, whose influence extended far
to the west, continued openly to protect heresy, and even in Lombardy
the hopes excited by Frederic’s death threatened to prove fallacious. In
1253, when Conrad IV. passed through Treviso to recover possession of
his Sicilian kingdom, he appointed as his Lombard vicar-general Uberto
Pallavicino, who soon became as obnoxious to the Church as Ezzelin
himself; and, though Conrad died in 1254, and Innocent IV. seized Naples
as a forfeited fief of the Church, Pallavicino’s power continued to
increase, and he soon established relations with Manfred, Frederic’s
illegitimate son, who wrested Naples from the papacy and became the
chief of the Ghibelline faction. Even more threatening was the revulsion
of feeling in Milan itself, when its ardent Guelfism was changed to
indifference by Innocent’s indiscreet assertion of certain
ecclesiastical immunities which touched the pride of the citizens. The
heads of the hydra might well seem indestructible.

One of Rainerio’s first enterprises, in 1253, was summoning Egidio,
Count of Cortenuova, before his tribunal, as a fautor and defender of
heresy. The castle of Cortenuova, near Bergamo, had been razed as a nest
of heretics, and its reconstruction prohibited, but the count had seized
the castle of Mongano, which was claimed by the Bishop of Cremona, and
had converted it into a den of heretics, who enjoyed immunity under his
protection. He disdained to obey the citation and was duly
excommunicated. He paid no attention to this, and on March 23, 1254,
Innocent IV. ordered the authorities of Milan, under pain of
ecclesiastical censures, to take the castle by force and deliver its
inmates to the inquisitors for trial. The count, however, was in close
alliance with Pallavicino, “that enemy of God and the Church,” and
the Milanese appear to have had no appetite for the enterprise at the
time. Mongano continued to be a place of refuge for the persecuted until
1269, when the Milanese were at last stimulated to undertake the siege,
and on capturing it handed it over to the Dominicans.[243]

Better success awaited Rainerio’s efforts with Roberto Patta da
Giussano, a Milanese noble who for twenty years had been one of the most
conspicuous defenders of heresy in Lombardy. At his castle of Gatta he
publicly maintained heretic bishops, allowing them to build houses, and
establish schools whence they spread their pernicious doctrines through
the land. They had also there a cemetery where, among others, were
buried their bishops, Nazario and Desiderio. The place was notorious,
and it is related of San Piero-Martire, as an instance of his prophetic
gifts, that once when passing it he had foretold its destruction and the
exhumation of the heretic bones. Roberto had been cited by the
archbishop and had abjured heresy, but no effective measures had been
ventured upon to coerce him from his evil ways, and the heretics of
Gatta had continued to enjoy his protection. It was otherwise when, in
1254, Rainerio and Guido summoned him again. On his failing to appear
they summarily condemned him as a heretic, declared his property
confiscated and his descendants subject to the usual disabilities.
Roberto saw that the new officials were not to be trifled with. The
prospects of the Ghibellines at the moment were apparently hopeless. He
hastened to make his peace, binding himself to submit to any terms which
the pope might dictate; and Innocent doubtless deemed himself merciful
when, August 19, 1254, he ordered the castle of Gatta and all the
heretic houses to be destroyed by fire, the bones in the cemetery to be
dug up and burned, and the count to perform such salutary penance as
Rainerio might prescribe.[244]

The papal power was now at its height. Conrad IV. had died May 20, 1254,
not without suspicion of poison; Innocent IV. had seized his Sicilian
kingdoms, and for a brief space, until Manfred’s romantic adventures and
victory of Foggia, he might well imagine himself on the eve of becoming
the undisputed temporal as well as spiritual head of Italy. Every effort
was made to perfect the Inquisition and to render it efficient both as a
political instrument and as a means of bringing about the long-desired
uniformity of belief. On March 8 Innocent had taken an important step in
its organization by ordering the Franciscan Minister of Rome to appoint
friars of his Order as inquisitors in all the provinces south of
Lombardy. On May 20 he reissued his bull _Ad extirpanda_; on the 22d he
sent the constitutions of Frederic II. to all the Italian rulers, with
orders to incorporate them in the local statutes, and informed them that
the Mendicants were instructed to coerce them in case of disobedience.
On the 29th he proceeded to reorganize the Lombard Inquisition by
instructing the provincial to appoint four inquisitors whose power
should extend from Bologna and Ferrara to Genoa. Under this impulsion
and the restless energy of Rainerio no time was lost in extending the
institution in every direction save where Ghibelline potentates such as
Ezzelin and Uberto prevented its introduction. We chance to have an
illustration of the process in the records of the little republic of
Asti, on the confines of Savoy. It is recited that in 1254 two
inquisitors, Frà Giovanni da Torino and Frà Paulo da Milano, with their
associates, appeared before the council of the republic and announced to
them that the pope enjoined them to admit the Inquisition within their
territories. Thereupon the Astigiani made answer that they were ready to
obey the pontiff, but they had no laws providing for persecution and it
would be necessary to frame one. Accordingly an _ordenamento_ was drawn
up prescribing obedience to the constitutions of Innocent IV. and
Frederic II., and it was forthwith added to the local statutes. Similar
action was doubtless taking place in every quarter where the people had
thus far remained in ignorance of the new doctrine that the suppression
of heresy was the first duty of the government.[245]

The death of Innocent IV., December 7, 1254, whether it was the result
of Dominican litanies or of mortification at Manfred’s success, made no
difference in the energy with which the progress of the Inquisition was
pushed. The accession of Alexander IV. was signalized by a succession of
bulls repeating and enforcing the regulations of his predecessor, and
urging prelates and inquisitors to increased activity. To overcome the
resistance of such cities as were slack in the duty of capturing and
delivering all who were designated for arrest by the inquisitors, the
latter were empowered to punish such delinquency with the heavy fine of
two hundred silver marks. Under this impulsion Rainerio assembled the
people of Milan, August 1, 1255, in the Piazza del Duomo, read to them
his commission, and gave them notice that, although he had hitherto
acted with great mildness, the time had passed for trifling. Many
citizens, he said, openly derided the Inquisition in the public streets;
others caused scandal by opposing and molesting it. He therefore gave
three formal warnings, attested by a notarial instrument duly witnessed,
that all who should continue to indulge in detraction or should in any
way impede the Inquisition were excommunicate as fautors of heresy, and
would be prosecuted to such penalties as their audacity deserved.[246]

As the Inquisition warmed to its work, the four inquisitors provided for
Lombardy by Innocent IV. proved insufficient, and, March 20, 1256,
Alexander IV. ordered the provincial to increase the number to eight. He
appears to have been somewhat dilatory in obedience, for in 1260 he was
sharply reminded of the command and enjoined no longer to postpone its
fulfilment. Possibly the delay may have arisen from the fact that in
January, 1257, Rainerio had risen to the position of supreme inquisitor
over the whole of Lombardy and the Marches of Genoa and Treviso, with
power to appoint deputies. He thus was doubtless practically emancipated
from the control of the provincial, and was able to supply any
deficiency in the working force with those who were absolutely dependent
upon himself. In March, 1256, the prelates had been required in the most
urgent terms to render all aid and support to the inquisitors; and in
January, 1257, this was emphasized by informing them that those who
manifested neglect should not escape punishment, while those who showed
themselves zealous would find the Holy See benignant to them in their
“opportunities.” The significance of this is not to be mistaken, and
it would be difficult to set limits to the power thus concentrated in
the hands of the ex-Catharan.[247]

Territorially, however, his authority was circumscribed by the
possessions of Uberto and Ezzelin, within which no inquisitor dared
venture. In this very year, 1257, Piacenza, which had fallen under
control of Uberto, was placed in such complete hostility to the Church
that it was deprived of its episcopate, and its bishop, Alberto, was
transferred to Ferrara. In Vicenza, which was ruled by Ezzelin, matters
were even worse. There the heretics had a recognized chief named Piero
Gallo, of the Borgo di San Piero, whose name was adopted by them as a
rallying cry, to which the Catholics responded with “_viva Volpe_!“--a
member of the family of Volpe being the leader of their faction; and so
thoroughly did this become encrusted in the habits of the people that we
are told in the seventeenth century that the cry of the citizens of the
Borgo (then corruptly called Porsampiero) was still ”_viva Gallo_!“
while that of the dwellers in the Piazza and Porta Nuova was ”_viva
Volpe_!” Ezzelin would permit no persecution, and when the blessed
Bortolamio di Breganze, one of the immediate disciples of St. Dominic,
was made Bishop of Vicenza, in 1256, he was reduced to seeking
conversions by persuasion. After preaching for a while with little
effect he had a public discussion with Piero Gallo, and so impressed him
by argument that the heretic was converted. We may reasonably doubt the
assertion that Ezzelin’s displeasure at this feat was the cause of
Bortolamio’s banishment from his see, but, whatever was the motive, he
was consoled by Alexander IV., who sent him as nuncio to England. During
his absence, in 1258, his archdeacon, Bernardo Nicelli, was bolder, and
made a capture of importance in the person of the Catharan Bishop,
Viviano Bogolo. He endeavored to convert his prisoner, but his powers of
persuasion were insufficient, and Ezzelin interfered and set the heretic
at liberty.[248]

So long as these Ghibelline chiefs retained power it was evident that
the foothold of heresy was secure, and that the hopes based on the death
of Frederic II. were not destined to fruition. Every motive had long
conspired to render the Church eager for the destruction of Ezzelin, who
was its most dreaded antagonist, and every expedient had been tried to
reduce him to subjection. As far back as 1221 Gregory IX., then legate
in Lombardy, had extorted from him assurances of his hatred of heresy.
In 1231 his sons, Ezzelin and Alberico, were at the papal court
expressing horror at his crimes and promising to deliver him up for
trial as a heretic if he would not reform, in order to escape the
disinheritance which they would otherwise incur under Frederic’s laws.
They pledged themselves, moreover, to deliver to him letters from
Gregory, dated September 1, in which he was bitterly reproached for his
protection of heretics, and told that if he would humbly acknowledge his
errors and expel all heretics from his lands he might come within two
months to the Holy See, prepared to obey implicitly all commands laid
upon him; otherwise heaven and earth would be invoked against him, his
lands should be abandoned to seizure, and he, who was already a scandal
and a horror to men, should become an eternal opprobrium.[249]

Whether the sons dutifully presented to their father this portentous
epistle does not appear, nor is it of any importance save as showing how
Ezzelin was already regarded as the mainstay of heresy, and how
habitually zeal for the faith was made to cover the ambitious political
designs of the Church. Ezzelin’s courage never wavered, and his
adventurous career was pursued with scarce a check. When Frederic II.
overcame the resistance of Lombardy, he gave, in 1238, his natural
daughter Selvaggia to Ezzelin in marriage and created him imperial
vicar. The unanimous testimony of the ecclesiastical chroniclers
represents him as a monster whose crimes almost transcend the capacity
for evil of human nature, but the unrelieved blackness of the picture
defeats the object of the painter. Possibly he may have been among the
worst of the Italian despots of the time, when faithlessness and
contempt for human suffering were the rule, but the long unbroken
success which attended him shows that he must have had qualities which
attached men to him, and the report that he was twice moved to tears by
the eloquence of Frà Giovanni Schio indicates a degree of sensibility
impossible in one utterly depraved. In fact, the anecdote related by
Benvenuto da Imola, that he carried on his back his sister’s lover
Sordello to and from the place of assignation, and then gave the
frightened troubadour a friendly warning, presupposes a character wholly
at variance with that currently attributed to him. Some of the stories
circulated to excite odium against him are so absurdly exaggerated as to
cast doubt upon all the accusations of the papalist writers.[250]

Gregory’s letters of September 1, 1231, were simply a ruse. So far was
he from awaiting the two months’ delay for Ezzelin to present himself,
that three days later, on September 4, he executed his threat by
ordering the Bishops of Reggio, Modena, Brescia, and Mantua to offer
Ezzelin’s lands to the spoiler, and to preach the cross against him,
with the same indulgences as for the Holy Land. This proved a failure,
and when Frà Giovanni Schio was sent on his mission of peace, in 1233,
Ezzelin’s absolution was included in the general pacification, though he
had not abandoned the protection of heresy, which had been the
ostensible reason for assailing him. While Frederic was at peace with
the Church, Ezzelin appears to have been let alone; and when the quarrel
broke out afresh, after the emperor’s subjugation of Lombardy, Ezzelin
was again attacked. Frederic’s excommunication of April 7, 1239, was
followed, November 20, by that of Ezzelin. This time there is no mention
of fautorship of heresy, but only of his encroachments on the church of
Treviso and of his remaining under excommunication for more than three
years. A month is given to him to submit, after which he is to be
proceeded against as a heretic, for the Church had already discovered
the convenience of treating disobedience as heresy. Nothing came of
this, and in 1244 Innocent IV. resolved to see whether the Inquisition
could not be used to better effect. Frà Rolando da Cremona, whose
dauntless energy we have witnessed, was commissioned to make inquest on
him as on one suspected and publicly defamed for heresy by reason of
his association with heretics; and as the accused was “terrible and
powerful,” the inquisitor was empowered to publish the legal citations
in any place where he could do so in safety. The result of this trial
_in absentia_ was conclusive. It was found that he was the son of a
heretic, that his kinsmen were heretics, that under his protection
heresy had spread throughout the March of Treviso, and it was decided
that he did not believe in the faith of Christ, and must be held suspect
of heresy. In March, 1248, Innocent pronounced his condemnation as a
manifest heretic to receive the reward of damnation incurred by damned
heretics, but promised him that he would learn the abundant clemency of
the Church if he would present himself in person by the next Ascension
day (May 28). The wary old chief did not allow his curiosity as to the
extent of papal clemency to overcome his caution, and abstained from
placing his person in Innocent’s power. He sent envoys, however, who
offered to purge him of the suspicion of heresy by swearing to his
orthodoxy; but Innocent held that he must appear in person, and offered
him a safe-conduct in coming and going. There was no security promised
in staying, however, and Ezzelin was cautious. The term allowed him
passed away, and he was duly excommunicated. After two years more he was
notified that unless he appeared by August 1, 1250, he would be
subjected to the statutes against heresy. The obdurate sinner was
equally unmoved by this, and in June, 1251, the Bishop of Treviso and
the Dominican Prior of Mantua were ordered to summon him personally
again to appear by a given time, offering him ample security for his
safety: if he disobeyed, his subjects of Treviso were commanded to
coerce him, and if this failed a crusade was to be preached against

To a pope desirous of extending his temporal sway it was exceedingly
convenient to condemn his political opponents for heresy, and
exceedingly economical to pay for their subjugation by lavishing the
treasures of salvation. Thus, in April, 1253, Innocent IV., as an
episode in his quarrel with Brancaleone, Senator of Rome, ordered the
Dominicans of the Roman province to preach a crusade, with Holy-Land
indulgences, against the so-called heretics of Tuscany. Preparations
were similarly made, on a larger scale, to crush those of Lombardy,
where heresy was described as being more rampant and aggressive than
ever. For two years a succession of bulls was issued directing all
prelates, and especially the inquisitors, to preach the cross against
them, with a most liberal assortment of indulgences. In one of these
absolution was actually offered to those who held property wrongfully
acquired, provided they contributed its value in aid of the crusade,
thus deliberately rendering the Church an accomplice in robbery. In
another, all persons or communities neglecting to aid the crusade were
ordered to be prosecuted by the inquisitors as fautors of heresy. As a
formal preliminary, Ezzelin was again cited, April 9, 1254, to present
himself for judgment by the next Ascension day (May 21), failing which
he was sentenced as a manifest heretic, to be dealt with as such. In all
these proceedings the curious travesty of an inquisitorial trial shows
us the influence which the Inquisition was already exercising on the
minds of churchmen, and the employment of inquisitors proves how useful
the institution was becoming as a factor in advancing the power of the
Holy See.[252]

The Neapolitan conquest and the death of Innocent IV. postponed the
organization of the crusade, but at length, in June, 1256, it set out
from Venice under the leadership of the Legate Filippo, Archbishop-elect
of Ravenna. The capture by assault of Padua, Ezzelin’s most important
city, was an encouraging commencement of the campaign, but the
seven-days’ sack, to which the unfortunate town was abandoned, showed
that the soldiers of the cross were determined to make the most of the
indulgences which they had earned. Under its incompetent captain the
crusade dragged on without further result, in spite of reiterated bulls
offering salvation, until, in 1258, the legate was utterly routed near
Brescia and captured, together with his astrologer, the Dominican
Everard. Brescia fell into Ezzelin’s hands, who, more powerful than
ever, entertained designs upon Milan, where he had relations with the
Ghibelline faction. When all danger seemed to him past, however, there
was a sudden revulsion of fortune. The Ghibelline chiefs of Lombardy,
Uberto Pallavicino and Buoso di Dovara, lords of Cremona, had been in
alliance with him; they had aided in the capture of Brescia, with the
understanding that they were to share in its possession, but he had
monopolized the conquest, and they were resolved on revenge. June 11,
1259, they signed a treaty against Ezzelin with the Milanese and with
Azzo d’Este, the head of the Lombard Guelfs. Ezzelin took the field with
a heavy force, hoping to gain possession of Milan through the
intelligences which he had within the walls, but on the march he was
attacked by Uberto, Buoso, and Azzo, who by skilful strategy dispersed
his troops and captured him, grievously wounded. His savage pride would
not brook this degradation: he tore the bandages from his wound, refused
all aid, and died in a few days.[253]

No greater service could have been rendered to the Church than that
performed by Uberto, who had been in field and council the soul of the
alliance that destroyed the dreaded Ezzelin and threw open, after thirty
years of fruitless effort, the March of Treviso to the Inquisition. Some
show of favor in return for such services would not have been amiss;
would perhaps, indeed, have been wise, as it might have won over the
powerful Ghibelline chief. In the treaty of June 11, however, the allies
had alluded to Manfred as King of Sicily, and had pledged themselves to
labor for his reconciliation with the pope. No service, especially after
it had become irrevocable, could overbalance this recognition of the
hated son of Frederic. Uberto, Buoso, and the Cremonese had been
absolved from excommunication when they entered the alliance, but
Alexander IV. wrote, December 13, 1259, to his legate in Lombardy that
the absolution was worthless because it had not been administered by a
Dominican or a Franciscan, who alone were empowered to grant it; if,
however, the allies would repudiate Manfred and give sufficient security
to obey the mandates of the Church and to restore all Church property,
they might still be absolved.[254]

Apparently Alexander’s head had been turned by the triumph over Ezzelin,
but he knew little of the man whom he thus treated with such
supercilious ingratitude. By intrigues with the Torriani and other
powerful nobles of Milan, Uberto created for himself a party in that
city, and in 1260 he procured his election as podestà for five years.
Rainerio Saccone vainly endeavored to prevent a consummation so
deplorable. He assembled the citizens, denounced Uberto as vehemently
suspected of heresy and as a manifest defender of heretics, and
threatened that if it was persisted in he would ring all the church
bells, and summon the people and clergy and Crocesegnati to oppose it by
force. Unfortunately the citizens did not take in good part this
somewhat insolent interference of a stranger with their internal
affairs; or, as Alexander IV. describes it, “this wholesome counsel
given in the spirit of humility and kindness.” In wrath they assembled
and rushed to the Dominican convent, where they gave Rainerio the
alternative of leaving the city or faring worse. He chose the wiser
alternative and departed.[255]

It was in vain that Alexander, in the bull detailing these griefs,
ordered Rainerio and the other inquisitors to prosecute the guilty
parties. It was in vain also that he approved, October 14, 1260, the
statutes of an association of Defenders of the Faith recently formed in
Milan in honor of Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin, St. John the
Baptist, and St. Peter Martyr, whose members pledged themselves to give
assistance, armed or otherwise, to the Inquisition in its labors for the
extermination of heresy. Uberto was now the most powerful man in
Lombardy, and wherever his influence extended he prohibited inquisitors
from performing their functions. Heretics were safe under his rule, and
they flocked to his territories from other parts of Lombardy and from
Languedoc and Provence. One of his confidential servitors was a certain
Berenger, who had been condemned for heresy. Alexander lost no time in
repeating with him the comedy of an inquisitorial trial, which we have
seen performed with Ezzelin. December 9, 1260, he addressed instructions
to the inquisitors of Lombardy to cite him, from some safe place, to the
papal presence within two months, offering him a safe-conduct for coming
(but not for going), when if he can prove his innocence he will be
admitted to swear obedience to the papal mandates. If he does not
appear, he is to be proceeded against inquisitorially.[256]

Uberto cared as little as Ezzelin for the impotent papal thunder, and
quietly went on strengthening his position and adding city after city to
his dominions, in spite of Alexander’s instructions to Rainerio and his
inquisitors to act vigorously and to preach a crusade. Between his
success in the north, and the daily extending influence of Manfred’s
wise and vigorous rule in the south, it looked for a while as though the
ambitious designs of the papacy were permanently crushed, and that the
Italian Inquisition might come to an untimely end. Inquisitors were no
longer able to move around in safety, even in the Roman province, and
prelates and cities were ordered to provide them with a sufficient guard
in all their journeys. An indication of the popular feeling is afforded
by the action taken in 1264 by the people of Bergamo, greatly to the
indignation of the Roman curia, to defend themselves against the
arbitrary methods of inquisitorial procedure. They enacted that any one
cited or excommunicated for heresy or fautorship might take an oath
before the prosecutor or bishop that he held the faith of the Church of
Rome in all its details, and then another oath before the podestà
binding himself to pay one hundred sols every time that he deviated from
it; after this he could not be cited outside of the city, and was
eligible to any municipal office within it, while the magistrates were
to defend him at the public expense against any such citation or
excommunication. Yet outside of Uberto’s territories and influence the
business of the Inquisition in Lombardy went steadily on. In 1265 and
1266 Clement IV. is found issuing instructions as to the duties and
appointment of inquisitors as vigorously as though there were no
impediments to their functions. It seemed only a question of time,
however, when the districts yet open should be closed to them.[257]

There have been few revolutions more pregnant with results than that
which occurred when the popes, renouncing the hope of acquiring for
themselves the kingdom of Sicily, and vainly tempting Edmond, son of
Henry III. of England, succeeded in arousing the ambition of Charles of
Anjou, and caused a crusade to be preached everywhere in his behalf. The
papacy fully recognized the supreme importance of the issue, and staked
everything upon it. The treasures of salvation were poured forth with
unstinted hand, and plenary indulgences were given to all who would
contribute a fourth of their income or a tenth of their property. The
temporal treasury of the Church was drawn upon with equal liberality.
Three years’ tithe of all ecclesiastical revenues in France and
Flanders were granted to Charles, and when all this proved insufficient,
Clement IV. sacrificed the property of the Roman churches without
hesitation. An effort to raise one hundred thousand livres by pledging
it brought in only thirty thousand, and then he pawned for fifty
thousand more the plate and jewels of the Holy See. He could truly
answer Charles’s increasing demands for money to support his naked and
starving crusaders by declaring that he had done all he could, and that
he was completely exhausted--he had no mountains and rivers of gold, and
could not turn earth and stones into coin. So utter was his penury that
the cardinals were reduced to living at the expense of the monasteries;
and when the Abbot of Casa Dei complained of the number quartered on
him, he was told that he would be relieved of the Cardinal of Ostia, but
that he must support the rest. More permanent relief, however, was found
at the expense of the foreigner by assigning to them revenues on
churches abroad on the liberal scale of three hundred marks a year

Vainly Pallavicino sought to prevent the passage of the crusaders
through Lombardy. The fate of Italy--one may almost say of the
papacy--was decided, February 26, 1266, on the plain of Benevento, where
Guelf and Ghibelline from all portions of the Peninsula faced each
other. Had Charles been defeated it would have fared ill with the Holy
See. Europe had looked with aversion on the prostitution of its
spiritual power to advance its temporal interests, and success alone
could serve as a justification, in an age when men looked on the battle
ordeal as recording the judgment of God. In the previous August, Clement
had despairingly answered Charles’s demands for money by declaring that
he had none and could get none--that England was hostile, that Germany
was almost openly in revolt, that France groaned and complained, that
Spain scarce sufficed for her internal necessities, and that Italy did
not furnish her own share of expenses. After the battle, however, he
could exultingly write, in May, to Cardinal Ottoboni of San Adriano, his
legate in England, that “Charles of Anjou holds in peace the whole
kingdom of that pestilent man, obtaining his putrid body, his wife, his
children, and his treasure,” adding that already the Mark of Ancona had
returned to obedience, that Florence, Siena, Pistoja, and Pisa had
submitted, that envoys had come from Uberto and Piacenza, and that
others were expected from Cremona and Genoa; and on June 1 he announced
the submission of Uberto and of Piacenza and Cremona.[259]

Although one by one Pallavicino’s cities revolted from him in the
general terror, his submission was only to gain time, and in 1267 he
risked another cast of the die by joining in the invitation to Italy of
the young Conradin, but the defeat and capture of that prince at
Tagliacozza, in August, 1268, followed by his barbarous execution in
October, extinguished the house of Suabia and the hopes of the
Ghibellines. Charles of Anjou was master of Italy; he was created
imperial vicar in Tuscany; even in the north we find him this year
appointing Adalberto de’ Gamberti as podestà in Piacenza. Before the
close of 1268 Pallavicino died, broken with age and in utter misery,
while besieged in his castle of Gusaliggio by the Piacenzans and
Parmesans. For a presumed heretic he made a good end, surrounded by
Dominicans and Franciscans, confessing his sins and receiving the
viaticum, so that, as a pious chronicler observes, we may humbly believe
that his soul was saved. Despite the calumnies of the papalists, he left
the reputation of a man of sterling worth, of lofty aims, and of great
capacity. As for Rainerio Saccone, the last glimpse we have of him is in
July, 1262, when Urban IV. orders him to come with all possible speed
for consultation on a matter of moment, defraying, from the proceeds of
the confiscations, all expenses for horses and other necessaries on the
journey. His expulsion from Milan had evidently not diminished his

Under these circumstances, the long interregnum of nearly three years,
which occurred after the death of Clement IV., in 1268, made little
difference. Henceforth there was to be no refuge for heresy. The
Inquisition could be organized everywhere, and could perform its
functions unhampered. By this time, too, its powers, its duties, and its
mode of procedure had become thoroughly defined and universally
recognized, and neither prelate nor potentate dared to call them in
question. As already stated, in 1254, Innocent IV. had divided the
Peninsula between the two Orders, giving Genoa and Lombardy to the
Dominicans, and central and southern Italy to the Franciscans. To the
provinces of Rome and Tuscany were allotted two inquisitors each, while
for that of St. Francis, or Spoleto, one was deemed sufficient, but in
1261 each inquisitor was furnished with two assistants, and the
provincials were instructed to appoint as many more as might be asked
for, so that the holy work might be prosecuted with full vigor.
Lombardy, as we have seen, had eight inquisitors, and when the
Dominicans divided that province, in 1304, the number was increased to
ten, seven being assigned to Upper and three to Lower Lombardy. For a
while the March of Treviso and Romagnola were intrusted to the
Franciscans, but, as stated above (Vol. I. p. 477), their extortions
were so unendurable that, in 1302, Boniface VIII. transferred these
districts to the Dominicans, without thereby relieving the people.[261]

No time had been lost in enforcing unity of belief in the territories
redeemed from Ghibelline control. As early as February, 1259, the
Franciscan Minister of Bologna was ordered to appoint two friars as
inquisitors in Romagnola. At Vicenza, no sooner was quiet restored after
the death of Ezzelin than Frà Giovanni Schio was sent thither to remove
the excommunication incurred by the people in consequence of their
subjection to Ezzelin. The ceremony was symbolic of the scourging
inflicted on penitents. The podestà and council assembled at the usual
place of meeting, whence they marched in pairs to the cathedral. At the
south portal stood Giovanni with seven priests, and as the magistrates
entered they touched each one lightly with rods, after which the rites
of absolution were solemnly performed. The exiled bishop, Bortolamio, on
his return from England had tarried with St. Louis, whose confessor he
had been in Palestine, where he had served as papal legate during the
saintly king’s crusade. As soon as he heard of the death of Ezzelin he
hastened homeward, bearing with him the priceless treasures of a thorn
of the crown and a piece of the cross which St. Louis had bestowed upon
him in parting. At once he commenced to build the great Dominican church
and convent of the Santa Corona. The site chosen was on the most
elevated spot in the city, known as the Colle, and among the buildings
destroyed to give place for it was the church of Santa Croce, which had
been occupied by the heretics as their place of assembly and worship. We
are told that the presence of the relics worked the miracle of relieving
the city of its three leading sins--avarice, heresy, and discord. As for
heresy, the miracle lay in the unlooked-for conversion of the chief
heretic of the district, Gieremia, known as the Archbishop of the Mark,
who, with his son Alticlero, made public recantation. The heretic
bishop, Viviano Bogolo, fled to Pavia, where he was recognized and
burned. His two deacons, Olderico da Marola and Tolomeo, with eight
others, probably Perfects, were obstinate, and were promptly burned.
These examples were sufficient. The “credentes” furnished no further
martyrs, and heresy, at least in its outward manifestation, was

In some places, unblessed with such wonder-working relics, however, the
Inquisition had much greater trouble in establishing orthodoxy. In
Piacenza it is said to have found the burning of twenty-eight wagon
loads of heretics necessary. At Sermione for sixteen years the
inhabitants defiantly refused to allow persecution. Though Catholic
themselves, they continued to afford protection to heretics, who
naturally flocked thither as one refuge after another was rendered
unsafe by the zeal of the inquisitors. It was in vain that Frà Timedeo,
the inquisitor, obtained evidence by sending there a female spy, named
Costanza da Bergamo, who pretended to be a heretic, received the
_consolamentum_, and was then unreservedly admitted to their secrets. At
last the scandal of such ungodly toleration became unendurable, and the
Bishop of Verona prevailed upon Mastino and Alberto della Scala of
Verona, and Pinamonte de’ Bonacolsi of Mantua, to reduce Sermione to
obedience. It was obliged to submit in 1276, delivering up no less than
one hundred and seventy-four perfected heretics, and humbly asking to be
restored to Catholic unity, with a pledge to stand to the mandates of
the Church. Frà Filippo Bonaccorso, the Inquisitor of Treviso, applied
to John XXI. for instructions as to the treatment of the penitent
community. The pope was a humane and cultured man who cared more for
poetry than theology, and he was disposed to be lenient with repentant
sinners. He instructed Frà Filippo to remove the interdict if the town
would appoint a syndic to abjure heresy in its name, and to swear in
future to seize all heretics and deliver them to the Inquisition, any
infraction of the oath to work a renewal, _ipso facto_, of the
interdict. Every inhabitant was then to appear personally before the
inquisitor, and make full confession of everything relating to heresy,
to abjure, and to accept such penance as might be assigned--all infamous
penalties, disabilities, imprisonment, and confiscation being mercifully
excluded. Full records were to be kept of each case, and any
withholding of the truth or subsequent relapse was to expose the
delinquent to the full rigor of the law. Obstinate heretics were to be
dealt with according to the canons, and of these there were found
seventy, whom Frà Filippo duly condemned, and had the satisfaction of
seeing burned. To insure the future purity of the faith, in 1278 a
Franciscan convent was built at Sermione with the proceeds of a fine of
four thousand lire levied upon Verona as one of the conditions of
removing the interdict incurred by its upholding the cause of the
unfortunate Conradin; and in 1289 Ezzelin’s castle of Illasio was given
to some of the nobles who had been conspicuous in the reduction of
Sermione, as a reward for their service, and to stimulate them in the
future to continue their support of the Inquisition.[263]

Thus heresy, deprived of all protection, was gradually stamped out, and
the Inquisition established its power in every corner of the land. How
that power was abused to oppress the faithful with ingeniously devised
schemes of extortion we have already seen. In fact, in the territories
which had once been Ghibelline, it was impossible for any man, no matter
how rigid his orthodoxy, to be safe from prosecution if he chanced to
provoke the ill-will of the officials, or possessed wealth to excite
their cupidity. So successful had the Church been in confounding
political opposition with heresy that the mere fact of having adhered of
necessity to Ezzelin during the period of his unquestioned domination
long continued sufficient to justify prosecution for heresy, entailing
the desirable result of confiscation. When Ezzelin’s generation passed
away, the memory of the dead was assailed and the descendants were
disinherited. In all this there was no pretence of errors of faith, but
the men to whom the Church intrusted the awful powers of the Inquisition
seemed implacably determined to erase from the land every trace of those
who had once dared to resist its authority. At last, in 1304, the
authorities of Vicenza appealed to Benedict XI. no longer to allow the
few survivors of Ezzelin’s party and their descendants to be thus
cruelly wronged, and the pope graciously granted their petition. By this
time the empire was but a shadow; Ghibellinism represented no living
force that the papacy could reasonably dread, and its persecution had
long been merely the gratification of greed or malice.[264]

The triumph of the Inquisition had not been effected wholly without
resistance. In 1277 Frà Corrado Pagano undertook a raid against the
heretics of the Valtelline. It was, doubtless, organized on an extended
scale, for he took with him two associates and two notaries. This would
indicate that heretics were numerous; the event showed that they did not
lack protectors, for Corrado da Venosta, one of the most powerful nobles
of the region, cut short the enterprise by slaughtering the whole party,
on St. Stephen’s day, December 26. Pagano had been a most zealous
persecutor of heresy, and when his body was brought to Como it lay there
for eight days before interment, with wounds freshly bleeding, showing
that he was a martyr of God, and justifying the title bestowed on him by
his Dominican brethren of St. Pagano of Como. His relics are still
preserved there and are the objects of a local cult. Nicholas III. made
every effort to avenge the murder, even invoking the assistance of
Rodolf of Hapsburg, and his joy was extreme when, in November, 1279, the
podestà and people of Bergamo succeeded in capturing Corrado and his
accomplices. He at once ordered their delivery, under safe escort, to
the inquisitors, Anselmo da Alessandria, Daniele da Giussano, and
Guidone da Coconate, who were instructed to inflict a punishment
sufficient to intimidate others from imitating their wickedness, and all
the potentates of Lombardy were commanded to co-operate in their safe

The same year that justice was thus vindicated, a popular ebullition in
Parma shows how slender was the hold which the Inquisition possessed on
the people. Frà Florio had been diligent in the exercise of his
functions, and we are told that he had burned innumerable heretics,
when, in 1279, he chanced at Parma to have before him a woman guilty of
relapse. It was a matter of course to condemn her to relaxation, and she
was duly burned. In place of being piously impressed by the spectacle
the Parmesans were inspired by Satan to indignation which expressed
itself by sacking the Dominican convent, destroying the records of the
Inquisition, and maltreating the friars so that one of them died within
a few days. The Dominicans thereupon abandoned the ungrateful city,
marching out in solemn procession. The magistrates showed singular
indifference as to punishing this misdeed, and when summoned by the
Cardinal Legate of Ostia, the representatives who presented themselves
lacked the necessary authority, so that, after vainly waiting for
satisfaction, he laid an interdict upon the city. This was not removed
till 1282, and even then the guilty were not punished. In 1285 we find
Honorius IV. taking up the matter afresh and summoning the Parmesans to
send delegates to him within a month to receive sentence; what that
sentence was does not appear, but in 1287 the humbled citizens
petitioned the Dominicans to return, received them with great honor, and
voted them one thousand lire, in annual instalments of two hundred lire,
wherewith to build a church. So stubborn was the opposition elsewhere to
the Inquisition and its ways, that in 1287 the Provincial Council of
Milan still deemed it necessary to decree that any member of a municipal
government in any city within the province who should urge measures
favoring heretics should be deemed suspect of heresy, and should forfeit
any fiefs or benefices held of the Church.[266]

Even in the Patrimony of St. Peter resistance was not wholly at an end.
In 1254, when the papacy was triumphant, Innocent IV. urged the
inquisitors of Orvieto and Anagni to take advantage of the propitious
time and act with the utmost vigor. In 1258 Alexander IV. sounded the
alarm that heresy was increasing even in Rome itself, and he pressingly
urged increased activity on the inquisitors and greater zeal in their
support by the bishops. Their efforts were not wholly successful. Twenty
years later a knight named Pandolfo still made his stronghold of Castro
Siriani, near Anagni, a receptacle of heretics. Frà Sinibaldo di Lago,
the inquisitor of the Roman province, made various ineffectual attempts
to prosecute him, and in 1278 Nicholas III. sent his notary, Master
Benedict, with offers of pardon in return for obedience, but the
heretics were obdurate, and Nicholas was forced to order Orso Orsini,
Marshal of the Church in Tuscany, to levy troops and give Frà Sinibaldo
armed assistance sufficient to enable him to coerce them to penitence. A
similar enterprise against the Viterbian noble, Capello di Chia, in
1260, has already been described (Vol. I. p. 342). In this case the zeal
of the Viterbians, who levied an army to assist the inquisitor, must
have had some political motive, for their city was of evil repute in the
matter of heresy. In 1265, encouraged by the assistance of Manfred, the
people had risen against the Inquisition and had only been subdued after
a bloody fight in which two friars were slain. In 1279 Nicholas
expresses his regret that although, while he had been inquisitor-general,
he had labored strenuously to purge Viterbo of heresy, his labors had
been unsuccessful. Heretics were still concealed there, and the whole
city was infected. Frà Sinibaldo was therefore ordered to go thither to
make a thorough inquisition of the place.[267]

Earnest and unsparing as were the labors of the inquisitors, it seemed
impossible to eradicate heresy. Its open manifestations were readily
suppressed when the Ghibelline chiefs who protected it were destroyed,
but in secret it still flourished and maintained its organization. In
the inquest held on the memory of Armanno Pongilupo of Ferrara there is
a good deal of testimony which shows not only the activity and success
of the Inquisition of that city, but the continued existence of heresy
throughout the whole region. There are allusions to numerous heretics in
Vicenza, Bergamo, Rimini, and Verona. In the latter city a
lady-in-waiting of the Marchesa d’Este, named Spera, was burned in 1270,
and about the same time there were two Catharan bishops there, Alberto
and Bonaventura Belesmagra. In 1273 Lorenzo was Bishop of Sermione, and
Giovanni da Casaletto was Bishop of Mantua. There was a secret
organization extending through all the Italian cities, with visitors and
_filii majores_ performing their rounds, and messengers were constantly
passing to and fro, elaborate arrangements being made for secreting
them. Those who were in prison were kept supplied with necessaries by
their brethren at large, who never knew at what moment they might be
incarcerated. From the sentences of Bernard Gui we know that until the
fourteenth century was fairly advanced the Cathari of Languedoc still
looked to Italy as to a haven of refuge; that pilgrims thither had no
trouble in finding their fellow-believers in Lombardy, in Tuscany, and
in the kingdom of Sicily; that when the French churches were broken up
those who sought to be admitted to the circle of the Perfect, or to
renew their _consolamentum_, resorted to Lombardy, where they could
always find ministers authorized to perform the rites. When Amiel de
Perles had forfeited his ordination a conference was held in which it
was determined that he should be sent with an associate to “the Ancient
of the Heretics,” Bernard Audoyn de Montaigu, in Lombardy for
reconciliation; and on another occasion we hear of Bernard himself
visiting Toulouse on business connected with the propagation of the

How difficult, indeed, was the task of the inquisitor in detecting
heresy under the mask of orthodoxy is curiously illustrated by the case
of Armanno Pongilupo himself. In Ferrara heretics were numerous.
Armanno’s parents were both Cathari; he was a “_consolatus_” and his
wife a “_consolata_.” In 1254 he was detected and imprisoned; he
confessed and abjured, and was released. From his Catharan bishop he
received absolution for his oath of abjuration, and was received back
into the sect. From this time until his death, in 1269, he was
unceasingly engaged in propagating Catharan doctrines and in ministering
to the wants of his less fortunate brethren in the clutches of the
Inquisition, which was exceedingly active and successful. Meanwhile be
preserved an exterior of the strictest Catholicism; he was regular in
attendance at the altar and confessional, and wholly devoted to piety
and good works. He died in the odor of sanctity, was buried in the
cathedral, and immediately he began to work miracles. He was soon
reverenced as a saint. A magnificent tomb arose over his remains, an
altar was erected, and, as the miraculous manifestations of his
sanctity multiplied, his chapel became filled with images and ex-votos,
to the no little profit of the church fortunate enough to possess him.
Adored as a saint in the popular cult, there came a general demand for
his canonization, in which the pride of the city was warmly enlisted,
but which was steadfastly opposed by the Inquisition. In the confessions
of heretics before it the name of Armanno constantly recurred as that of
one of the most active and trusted members of the sect, and ample
evidence accumulated as to his unrepentant heresy. Then arose a curious
conflict, waged on both sides with unremitting vigor for thirty-two
years. Hardly had the remains been committed to honorable sepulture in
the cathedral when Frà Aldobrandini, the inquisitor who had tried him in
1254, ordered the archpriest and chapter to exhume and burn the corpse,
and on their refusal excommunicated them and placed the cathedral under
interdict. From this they appealed to Gregory X. and set to work to
gather the evidence for canonization. For this purpose at different
times five several inquests were held and superabundant testimony was
forthcoming as to the success with which his suffrage was invoked, how
the sick were healed, the blind made to see, and the halt to walk, while
numerous priests bore emphatic witness to his pre-eminent piety during
life. Gregory and Aldobrandini passed away leaving the matter unsettled.
Frà Florio, the next inquisitor, sent to Rome expressly to urge Honorius
IV. to come to a decision, but Honorius died without concluding the
matter. On the accession of Boniface VIII., in 1294, Frà Guido da
Vicenza, then inquisitor, again visited Rome to procure a termination of
the affair. Still the contending forces were too evenly balanced for
either to win. At length the Lord of Ferrara, Azzo X., interposed, for
the contest between the inquisitor and the secular clergy seriously
threatened the peace of the city. In 1300 Boniface appointed a
commission to make a thorough investigation, with power to decide
finally, and in 1301 sentence was rendered to the effect that Armanno
had died a relapsed heretic; that no one should believe him to be
anything but a heretic; that his bones should be exhumed and burned, the
sarcophagus containing them and the altar erected before it be
destroyed; that all statues, images, ex-votos, and other offerings set
up in his honor in the cathedral and other Ferrarese churches should be
removed within ten days; and that all his property, real and personal,
was confiscated to the Inquisition, any sales or conveyances made of
them during the thirty-two years which had elapsed since his death being
void. Frà Guido’s triumph was complete, and on the death of the Bishop
of Ferrara, in 1303, he was rewarded with the episcopate. Extraordinary
as this case may seem, it was not unique. At Brescia a heresiarch named
Guido Lacha was long adored as a saint by the people until the imposture
was detected by the Inquisition, which caused his bones to be dug up and

This was the period of the greatest power and activity of the
Inquisition, and the extent of its perfected organization is shown in a
document of 1302, wherein Frà Guido da Tusis, Inquisitor of Romagnola,
publishes in the communal council of Rimini the names of thirty-nine
officials whom he has selected as his assistants. The expenses of such a
body could not have been light, and to defray them there must have been
a constant stream of fines and confiscations pouring into the
inquisitorial treasury, showing an abundant harvest of heresy and active
work in its suppression.[270] It was probably between 1320 and 1330 that
was produced the treatise of Zanghino Ugolini, so often quoted above.
Frà Donato da Sant’ Agata had been appointed Inquisitor of Romagnola,
and the learned jurisconsult of Rimini drew up for his instruction a
summary of the rules governing inquisitorial procedure, which is one of
the clearest and best manuals of practice that we possess.

A singular episode of lenity occurred not long before, which is not to
be passed over, although inexplicable in itself and unproductive of
consequences. Its importance, indeed, lies in the evidence which it
affords that the extreme severity of the laws against heresy was
recognized as really unnecessary, since its relaxation in favor of a
single community as a matter of favor would otherwise have been a crime
against the faith. In February, 1286, Honorius IV., in consideration of
the fidelity manifested by the people of Tuscany to the Roman Church,
and especially to him before his elevation, relieved them individually
and universally from the penalties for heresy, including all
disabilities decreed by his predecessors and by Frederic II., whether
incurred by their own errors or by those of their ancestors. Catholic
children of heretic parents were thus _ipso facto_ restored to all
privileges and were no longer liable to disinheritance. In the case of
existing heretics it was necessary for them to appear before the
inquisitors within a time to be named by the latter--excepting absentees
in foreign lands, to whom a term of five months was allowed--to abjure
heresy and receive penance, which was to be a secret one, involving
neither humiliation, disability, or loss of property. Cases of relapse,
however, were to be treated with all the rigor of the law. As this bull
abrogated in Tuscany the constitutions of Frederic II., it required
confirmation by Rodolph of Hapsburg, which was duly procured. For a
while this extraordinary privilege seems to have been observed, for, in
1289, Nicholas IV., when anathematizing heretics and stimulating the
zeal of inquisitors throughout Genoa, Lombardy, Romagnola, Naples, and
Sicily, pointedly omits Tuscany from his enumeration. In time, however,
it was either repealed or disregarded. No case could come more
completely within its purview than that already referred to of Gherardo
of Florence, dying prior to 1250 and prosecuted in 1313. His numerous
children and grandchildren were good Catholics, and yet they were all
disinherited and subjected to the canonical disabilities.[271]

Together with this exhibition of papal indulgence may be classed the
occasional interference of the Holy See to moderate the rigor of the
canons, or to repress the undue zeal of an inquisitor, when the sufferer
had influence or money enough to attract the papal attention. It is
pleasant to record three instances of this kind on the part of the
despotic Boniface VIII., when, in 1297, he declared that Rainerio Gatti,
a noble of Viterbo, and his sons had been prosecuted by the inquisitors
on perjured testimony, wherefore the process was to be annulled and the
accused and their heirs relieved from all stain of heresy; when, in
1298, he ordered the Inquisition to restore to the innocent children of
a heretic the property confiscated by Frà Andrea the inquisitor, and
when he ordered Frà Adamo da Como, the inquisitor of the Roman province,
to desist from molesting Giovanni Ferraloco, a citizen of Orvieto, whom
his predecessors, Angelo da Rieti and Leonardo da Tivoli, had declared
absolved from heresy. This Frà Adamo apparently rendered his office a
terror to the innocent. May 8, 1293, we find him compelling Pierre
d’Aragon, a gentleman of Carcassonne who chanced to be in Rome, to give
him security in the heavy sum of one hundred marks to present himself
within three months to the Inquisition of Carcassonne and obey its
mandates. Pierre accordingly appeared before Bertrand de Clermont on
June 19, and was closely examined, and then again on August 16, but
nothing was discovered against him. Whether or not he recovered his one
hundred marks from Frà Adamo does not appear, but the incident affords
an illustration at once of the perfected organization of the Holy
Office, and of the dangers which surrounded travellers in the countries
where it flourished.[272]

       *       *       *       *       *

The Inquisition was thus thoroughly established and at work in northern
and central Italy, and heresy was gradually disappearing before its
remorseless and incessant energy. To escape it many had fled to
Sardinia, but in 1258 that island was added to the inquisitorial
province of Tuscany, and inquisitors were sent thither to track the
fugitives in their retreats.[273] There were two regions, however,
Venice and the Two Sicilies, which thus far we have not considered, as
they were in some sort independent of the movement which we have traced
in the rest of the Peninsula.

Naples, like the other portions of southern Europe, had been exposed to
the infection of heresy. At an early period missionaries from Bulgaria
had penetrated the passes of the southern Apennines, and, in that motley
population of Greek and Saracen and Norman, proselytes had not been
lacking. The Norman kings, usually at enmity with the Holy See, had not
cared to inquire too closely into the orthodoxy of their subjects, and
had they done so the independence of the feudal baronage would have
rendered minute perquisition by no means easy. The allusions of the
Abbot Joachim of Flora to the Cathari indicate that their existence and
doctrines were familiar facts in Calabria, though as Rainerio makes no
allusion to any Catharan church in Italy south of Florence it is
presumable that the sectaries were widely scattered and unorganized. In
1235, when the Dominican convent in Naples was broken into by a mob and
several of the friars were grievously wounded, Gregory IX. attributed
the violence to friends of heretics.[274]

Frederic II., however much at times his policy might lead him to
proclaim ferocious edicts of persecution, and even spasmodically to
enforce them, had no convictions of his own to render him persistent in
persecution, and his lifelong contest with the papacy gave him, secretly
at least, a fellow-feeling with all who resisted the supremacy of the
Holy See, whether in temporal or spiritual concerns. Occasional attacks
such as that under the auspices of the Archbishop of Reggio, in 1231, or
the form of secular inquisition which he instituted in 1233, had little
permanent effect. Cathari driven from Languedoc, who perhaps found even
Lombardy insecure, were tolerably sure of refuge in the wild and
secluded valleys of Calabria and the Abruzzi, lying aside from the great
routes of travel. The domination in Naples of Innocent IV. was too brief
for the organization of any systematized persecution, and when Manfred
reconquered the kingdom, although he seems to have felt his position too
precarious to risk open toleration, and, under pressure from Jayme of
Aragon, he ordered Bishop Vivian of Toulouse and his disciples, who had
settled in Apulia, to leave his dominions, yet he went no further in
active measures of repression.[275]

Charles of Anjou came as a crusader and as the champion of the Church.
Scarce was his undisputed domination assured by the execution of
Conradin, October 20, 1268, than we see him zealously employed in
establishing the Inquisition throughout the kingdom. Numerous royal
letters of 1269 show it actively at work, and manifest the solicitude of
the king that the stipends and the expenses of the inquisitors should
be provided for, and that every assistance should be rendered by the
public officials. Each inquisitor was furnished with a letter which
placed all the forces of the State at his unreserved command. The
Neapolitan Inquisition was fully manned. There was one inquisitor for
Bari and the Capitanata, one for Otranto, and one for the Terra di
Lavoro and the Abruzzi; and in 1271 one was added for Calabria and one
for Sicily. Most of them were Dominicans, but we meet with at least one
Franciscan, Frà Benvenuto. Yet no buildings or prisons seem to have been
provided for them. The royal jails were placed at their disposal, and
the keepers were instructed to torture prisoners on requisition from the
inquisitors. Even as late as 1305 this arrangement appears to be in

Charles’s zeal did not confine itself to thus organizing and promoting
the Inquisition. He supplemented its labors by instituting raids on
heretics conducted under his own auspices. Thus, although there was an
inquisitor for the Abruzzi, we find him, December 13, 1269, sending
thither the Cavaliere Berardo da Rajano with instructions to investigate
and seize heretics and their fautors. The utmost diligence was enjoined
on him, and the local officials were ordered to assist him in every way,
but there is no allusion to his mission being in co-operation with the
inquisitor. Another significant manifestation of Charles’s devotion is
seen in his founding, in 1274, and richly endowing for the Dominicans
the splendid church of San Piero Martire in Naples, and stimulating his
nobles to follow his example in showering wealth upon it. Yet fifty
years afterwards, in 1324, the building was still incomplete for lack of
funds, when King Robert aided the construction with fifty ounces of
gold, which he ordered the inquisitors to pay out of the royal third of
the confiscations coming into their hands. This is interesting as
showing how, in Naples, the profitable side of persecution was wholly
under the control of the Holy Office.[277]

Few details have been preserved to us of the activity of the Inquisition
in Naples. We know that heretics continued to exist there, but the wild
and mountainous character of much of the country doubtless afforded them
abundant opportunities of safe asylum. Already, in August, 1269, a
letter of Charles ordering the seizure of sixty-eight heretics
designated by Frà Benvenuto shows that the work was being energetically
prosecuted, and in another letter of March 14, 1270, there is an
allusion to three others whom Frà Matteo di Caetellamare had recently
caused to be burned in Benevento. The inquisitors of Languedoc,
moreover, made haste, as early as 1269, to send agents to Naples to hunt
the refugees whom their severity had driven there, and Charles ordered
every assistance to be rendered to them, which, perhaps, explains the
success of Frà Benvenuto. Yet the perpetual necessity for royal
interposition leads to the inference that the Inquisition was not nearly
so effective in Naples as it proved in Languedoc and Lombardy. The royal
authority seems to be required at every turn, partly because the king
allowed little independent initiative to the inquisitors, and partly,
perhaps, because the local officials did not lend as hearty a
co-operation as they might have done. Thus the Neapolitan Inquisition,
even under the Angevines, seems never to have attained the compact and
effective organization of which we have seen the results elsewhere,
though Charles II. was an eager persecutor who stimulated the zeal of
his inquisitors, and his son Robert earned the name of the Pious. In
1305 we shall see Frà Tommaso di Aversa active in persecuting the
Spiritual Franciscans, and in 1311, King Robert, at the instance of Frà
Matteo da Ponza, ordered that all newly converted Jews should live
scattered among Christians, so as not to be tempted back to

The ineffectiveness of the Neapolitan Inquisition is seen in the
comparative security which attended an organized immigration of
Waldenses from the valleys of the Cottian Alps. It was probably about
1315 that Zanino del Poggio, a Milanese noble, led forth the first band
from Savoy, under specified guarantees of lands and privileges, after
the intending emigrants had received the report of deputies sent in
advance to survey the promised refuge. Fresh bands came to join them
and a group of villages sprang up--Guardia Piemontese, or Borgo degli
Oltremontani, Argentina, La Rocca, Vaccarizzo, and San Vincenzo in
Calabria, while in Apulia there were Monteleone, Montanto, Faito, La
Cella, and Matta. These were regularly visited by the “barbes,” or
missionary pastors, who spent their lives wandering around among the
scattered churches, administering the consolations of religion and
watching over the purity of the faith. The fierce persecutions conducted
by François Borel led to further emigration on an enlarged scale, which
naturally sought the Neapolitan territories as a haven of rest, until
Apulia came to be regarded as the headquarters of the sect. That
considerable bodies of heretics could thus establish themselves and
flourish argues great negligence on the part of the Inquisition. In
fact, its recognized inefficiency was shown as early as 1326, when John
XXII. was in pursuit of some Fraticelli who had fled to Calabria;
instead of calling upon the inquisitors he applied to King Robert and to
the Duke of Calabria to capture them and hand them over to the episcopal

When, as the result of the Sicilian Vespers in 1282, the Island of
Sicily passed into the hands of Pedro III. of Aragon, it was placed in
the bitterest antagonism towards the Holy See, and no active persecution
is to be looked for. In fact, in 1285, Martin IV., in ordering a crusade
preached against Pedro, gives as one of the four reasons alleged in
justification that heresy was multiplying in the island, and that
inquisitors were prevented from visiting it. It was not till 1302 that
Boniface VIII. was brought to accept the accomplished fact, and to
acknowledge Frederic of Aragon as King of Trinacria. The Inquisition
soon followed. In 1304 we find Benedict XI. ordering Frederic to receive
and give all due assistance to Frà Tommaso di Aversa the inquisitor, and
all other inquisitors who may be sent thither. The pope, however, did
not erect it into a separate tribunal, but instructed the Holy Office of
the mainland that its jurisdiction extended over both sides of the Faro.
Yet the introduction of the Inquisition in the island was nominal rather
than real except, as we shall see, with regard to the Templars, and
Sicily long remained a safe refuge for the persecuted Fraticelli.
Doubtless Arnaldo de Vilanova contributed to this by the picture which
he presented to Frederic of the inquisitors of the day. They were a
diabolical pest, trafficking in their offices, converting themselves
into demons, never edifying the faithful, but rather making them
infidels, as they abandoned themselves to hatred, greed, and lust, with
no one to condemn them or to repress their fury. When, in 1328, the
Archbishop of Palermo arrested a Fraticello, appeal was at once made to
Frederic, and John XXII. wrote to the archbishop urgently commanding
that the sect be extirpated, showing apparently that there was no
Inquisition then at work.[280]

       *       *       *       *       *

The Republic of Venice was always a law unto itself. Though forming part
of the March of Treviso, its predominant interests in the thirteenth
century lay to the east of the Adriatic, and it did not become a
formidable power on the mainland until the acquisition of Treviso in
1339. That of Padua, in 1405, followed by Verona, Vicenza, Feltre,
Belluno, and Brescia, greatly increased its strength, and in 1448 it
wrenched Bergamo from the dukes of Milan. Thus its policy with regard to
the Inquisition eventually controlled the whole of the March of Treviso,
and a considerable portion of Lombardy.

That policy held at bay in all things the pretensions of the Holy See,
and looked with extreme suspicion on whatever might give the popes an
excuse for interference with either the domestic policy or the foreign
enterprises of the Signoria. Fairly orthodox, though not bigoted, Venice
held aloof from the strife between Guelf and Ghibelline, and was not
involved in the anathemas lavished upon Ezzelin da Romano. Venice, in
fact, was the basis of operations in the crusade against him, and it was
a Venetian who led the expedition up the Brenta which captured Padua.
Yet the republic made no haste to join in the movement for the
extermination of heresy so energetically pushed by Gregory IX. and his
successors. The Constitutions of Frederic II. were never inscribed in
its statute-books. In 1229 the official oath of the Doge Giacopo
Tiepoli, which, as is customary, contains the criminal code of the day,
embodies no allusion to heresy or its suppression, and the same is true
of the criminal statute of 1232 published by the same doge.[281]

It was about this time that the Inquisition was developed with all the
aggressive energy of which Gregory IX. was capable, but it found no
foothold in Venice. Yet the duty to punish heresy was at length
recognized, though the civil authorities would abate no jot of their
right to control the administration of justice in spiritual as well as
in temporal matters. The official oath taken in 1249 by the Doge Marino
Morosini contains a promise that certain upright and discreet and
Catholic men shall be appointed, with the advice of the Council, to
inquire after heretics. All heretics, moreover, who shall be delivered
to the secular arm by the Archbishop of Grado or other bishops of the
Venetian territories shall be duly burned, under the advice of the
Council, or of a majority of its members. Thus a kind of secular
Inquisition was established to search after heretics. The ancient
jurisdiction of the episcopal courts was alone recognized, but the
judgment of the bishops was subject to revision by the Council before
the death-penalty could be inflicted.[282]

This could by no means be satisfactory to the papacy, and when the death
of Frederic II. led to an immediate effort to extend the Inquisition
through the territories hitherto closed to it, Venice was not forgotten.
By a bull of June 11, 1251, Innocent IV. ordered the Frati Vicenzo of
Milan, and Giovanni of Vercelli, to proceed to Venice and persecute
heretics there with the same powers as those exercised by inquisitors
elsewhere in Lombardy. Whether the good friars made the attempt to
exercise these powers is questionable; if they did so, their ill-success
is unquestionable. There is a document of 1256 which contains an oath to
pursue heretics and to denounce them, not to the ecclesiastical
tribunals, but to the doge or to the magistrates--an oath presumably
administered to the secular inquisitors established in 1249. The same
document contains a clause which indicates that the death-penalty
threatened in 1249 had already been abrogated. It classes Cathari and
usurers together: it alludes to the punishment decreed for those
convicted of relapse into either sin, and shows that this was not
capital, by providing that if the convict is a foreigner he shall be
banished from Venice, but if a citizen he shall not be banished. Yet the
death-penalty seems to have been restored soon afterwards, for, in 1275,
the oath of Giacomo Contarini is the same as that of 1249, with the
unimportant addition that the judgment of an episcopal vicar during the
vacancy of a see can be substituted for that of a bishop.[283]

As the pressure of the Inquisition extended throughout Lombardy and the
Marches, the persecuted heretics naturally sought a refuge in Venetian
territory, where supervision was so much more negligent. It was in vain
that about 1286 Frà Filippo of Mantua, the Inquisitor of Treviso, was
sent by Honorius IV. with a summons to the republic to inscribe in its
laws the constitutions against heresy of Frederic and of the popes.
Although the example of the other cities of the Marca Trivigiana was
urged, and Venice was repeatedly required to do the same, obedience was
persistently refused. At length, in 1288, Nicholas IV. lost patience
with this persistent contumacy. He peremptorily ordered the Signoria to
adopt the imperial and papal laws, and commanded that the doge should
swear not only not to impede the Inquisitor of Treviso in his duties,
but to assist him. In default of obedience he threatened to proceed
against the city both spiritually and temporally.[284]

The position of the republic was already indefensible under the public
law of the period. It was so administering its own laws as to afford an
asylum to a class universally proscribed, and it was refusing to allow
the Church to apply the only remedy deemed appropriate to this crying
evil. It therefore yielded to the inevitable, but in a manner to
preserve its own autonomy and independence. It absolutely refused to
incorporate in its own statutes the papal and imperial laws, but, August
4, 1289, it empowered the doge, Giovanni Dandolo, to give assistance to
the inquisitor, when called upon, without referring each case to the
Senate. A further wise provision decreed that all fines and
confiscations should inure to the State, which in turn undertook to
defray the expenses of the Holy Office. These were not light, as, in
addition to the cost of making arrests and maintaining prisoners, the
inquisitor received the liberal salary of twelve ducats a month. For
this purpose the proceeds of the corn-tax were set aside, and the money
was deposited with the Provveditore delle Viare, who disbursed it on the
requisition of the inquisitor. This compromise was accepted by Nicholas
IV., August 28, 1288, and was duly embodied in the official oath of the
next doge, Piero Gradenigo. Thus, while the inquisitor had full
opportunity of suppressing heresy, the temptation to abuse his office
for purposes of extortion was reduced to a minimum, and the State, by
retaining in its hands all the financial portion of the business, was
able at any time to exercise control.[285]

The Inquisition was unaccustomed to submit to control, and soon chafed
under these limitations. Already, in 1292, Nicholas IV. complained to
Piero Gradenigo that the terms of the agreement were not carried out.
The inquisitors, Bonagiunta of Mantua and Giuliano of Padua, reported
that the papal and imperial laws against heresy were not enforced, and
that under the arrangement for expenditures they were unable to employ a
force of familiars sufficient to detect and seize the heretics. Heresy
consequently, they said, continued to flourish in Venetian territory,
for all of which Nicholas bitterly scolded the doge, and demanded such
changes as should remove these scandals, but without effect. The
Signoria, apparently, had not seen fit to abolish the office of secular
inquisitors provided by the legislation of 1249. These were three in
number, and were known as the “_tre Savi dell’ eresia_,“ or
”_assistenti_.” It was hardly possible that a duplicate organization
such as this could work without clashing. The situation became
intolerable, and in 1301 Frà Antonio, the Inquisitor of Treviso,
resolved to put an end to it. He notified the three Savi, Tommaso Viaro,
Marino Zorzi, and Lorenzo Segico, to recognize no superior save himself.
Their submission not being forthcoming, he proceeded to Venice, and
addressed to the Doge Gradenigo a monition ordering him, under pain of
excommunication, to swear to obey all the papal constitutions on heresy.
Gradenigo refused, alleging that this would be a violation of his oath
of office; the inquisitor withdrew his monition, and matters remained as
before. Whatever hopes had been entertained that the entering wedge
would enable the Inquisition to establish itself without restriction
were foiled by the steadfastness of the republic. The three Savi
continued their functions and, perhaps, even enlarged them; it had
become customary for them to be selected from among the senators, and
they acted in conjunction with the inquisitor in all cases coming within
his jurisdiction. As Venice extended her conquests on the mainland, in
all cities under her domination the _rettori_ or governors performed
this function, and their participation was required in all prosecutions
for heresy, not only by the inquisitor, but by the bishops.[286]

       *       *       *       *       *

In Italy, as in France, the history of the Inquisition during the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries is one of decadence. It is true that
in Italy it had not to contend with the consolidation of power in the
hands of a monarch, but the Captivity of Avignon and the debasement of
the papacy under the influence of the French court, co-operating with
the rise of the cities in wealth and culture, conduced to the same
result; while the Great Schism, followed by the Councils of Constance
and Basle, tended to emancipate the minds of men and foster
independence. During the fourteenth century much of the inquisitorial
activity was devoted to the new heresy of the Fraticelli, which will be
referred to hereafter when we come to consider that remarkable religious
movement. That movement, indeed, was the chief exception to the decay
in spiritual enthusiasm which diminished at once the veneration which
the Inquisition inspired and the opposition of heterodoxy which
constituted its _raison d’ être_. As heretics grew fewer and poorer its
usefulness decreased, its means of impressing the popular imagination
disappeared, and its rewards grew less and less.

As regards the Cathari, the Inquisition had done its work too well.
Unceasing and unsparing repression gradually annihilated the sect which,
during the first half of the thirteenth century, seemed almost able to
dispute with Rome the possession of Italy on equal terms. Yet when we
see that the Waldenses, exposed to the same merciless rigor, were not
extinguished, we recognize that some other factor besides mere
persecution was at work to obliterate a belief which once enjoyed so
potent an influence on the human mind that thousands for its sake went
joyfully to a dreadful death. The secret must be looked for in the
hopeless pessimism of the faith itself. There was in it nothing to
encourage and strengthen man in the battle of life. Manes had robbed the
elder Mazdeism of its vitality when he assigned to the Evil Principle
complete dominion over Nature and the visible universe, and when he
adopted the Sankhya philosophy, which teaches that existence is an evil,
while death is an emancipation for those who have earned spiritual
immortality, and a mere renewal of the same hated existence for all who
have not risen to the height of the austerest maceration. As
civilization slowly advanced, as the midnight of the Dark Ages began to
yield to the approaching dawn of modern ideas, as the hopelessness of
humanity grew less abject, the Manichæan theory grew less attractive.
The world was gradually awakening to new aims and new possibilities; it
was outgrowing the dreary philosophy of pessimism, and was unconsciously
preparing for the yet unknown future in which man was to regard Nature
not as an enemy, but as a teacher. Catharism had no possibility of
development, and in that lay its doom.

The simple and earnest faith of the Waldenses, on the other hand,
inculcated helpfulness and hopefulness, patience under tribulation, and
an abiding trust in the watchful care of the Heavenly Father. The
arduous toil of the artisan or husbandman was blessed in the
consciousness of the performance of a duty. The virtues which form the
basis of all Christian society--industry, charity, self-abnegation,
sobriety, chastity, thrift--were stimulated and cultivated, and man was
taught that his fate, here and hereafter, depended on himself, and not
on the ministration or mediation of his fellow-creatures, alive or dead.
It was a faith which fitted man for the environment in which he had been
placed by his Creator, and it was capable of adaptation to the infinite
vicissitudes of human progress. Accordingly, it had proportionate
vitality. Rooted out in one place, it grew in another. It responded too
nearly to the needs and aspirations of multitudes ever to be wholly
blotted out. There was always a propitious soil for its scattered seeds,
and its resistance of inertia in the end proved too much for even the
persistent energy of its destroyers.

Yet in Italy the Cathari lasted long after they had disappeared from
France. Driven from the plains of Lombardy and central Italy, they took
refuge in places less accessible. In 1340 we hear of them in Corsica,
when Gerald, the Franciscan general, sent his friars thither, who
succeeded in exterminating them for a time. In 1369 we again find
Franciscans, under Frà Mondino da Bologna, zealously at work there, and
earnestly supported by Gregory XI. In 1372 and 1373 Gregory wrote to the
Bishops of Marrana and Ajaccio, and to Frà Gabriele da Montalcino,
urging renewed activity, and, with singular lenity, authorizing them to
remit the death-penalty in cases of single relapse. These hunted
refugees were mostly in the forests and mountains, and to subdue them a
chain of spiritual forts was established, in the shape of Franciscan
houses. As late as 1397 a certain Frà Francesco was sent to Corsica in
the double capacity of papal nuncio and inquisitor.[287]

On the mainland, in spite of the vigilance of the Inquisition, Cathari
continued to exist in Piedmont. In 1388 Frà Antonio Secco of Savigliano
had the good-fortune to lay hands on one of the active members of the
sect, Giacomo Bech of Chieri, near Turin. The report of his examination
before the inquisitor and the Bishop of Turin, which has been printed by
Sig. Girolamo Amati, gives full details of the condition of the sect.
After his tongue had been loosened by repeated applications of torture,
his confession shows that it was numerous in the vicinage, and that it
comprised members of many noble families--the Patrizi, Bertoni, Petiti,
Narro, and ancestors of Balbi and Cavour. Although in Italy, as in
France, the name of Waldenses had become applicable to all heretics, and
they were commonly designated by this name, they retained the moderated
dualism of the Lombard Cathari. Satan fell from heaven, created the
visible universe, and will finally return to glory. The law of Moses was
dictated by him, and Moses was the greatest of sinners. Human souls are
fallen demons, who transmigrate into other human bodies, or into those
of animals, until released by death-bed _consolamentum_. The purity of
the faith was maintained by occasional intercourse with its headquarters
in Bosnia. Giacomo Bech was converted by a Slavonian missionary, in
conjunction with Jocerino de’ Balbi and Piero Patrizi, and the latter
gave him ten florins and sent him to Bosnia to perfect himself in the
doctrines, though he was compelled by ill-fortune at sea to return
without accomplishing his pilgrimage. Forty years before one of the
Balbi had gone thither for the same purpose; in 1360 a Narro and a
Benso, Piero Patrizi himself in 1377, and Berardo Rascherio in 1380.
Evidently the little community of Chieri maintained active relations
with the heads of the Church. In 1370 Bech had fallen into the hands of
the inquisitor, Frà Tommaso da Casacho, had been forced to confess, and
had been released after abjuration in reward for his betraying his

Frà Antonio’s labors had been already rewarded by the discovery of
another sect of Cathari in the valleys to the west and northwest of
Turin. Their heresiarch was Martino del Prete, and the community of
Chieri had vainly endeavored to win them over to unity. In Pignerol, Frà
Antonio had, in November, 1387, arrested a suspected heretic named
Antonio Galosna, who passed for a Franciscan Tertiary. The Inquisition
in those parts was greatly dependent upon the secular authorities, and
the Count of Savoy, Amadeo VII., was not disposed to second it with
zeal. When Galosna at first denied, Antonio succeeded in having him
tortured till he promised to tell everything if released from torture,
and accordingly the next day he made confession; but Giovanni di
Brayda, the chamberlain of Amadeo, and Antonio da Valencia, the Judge of
Pignerol, promised him that if he would retract they would effect his
deliverance. The Castellan of Pignerol, in whose charge he was, also
offered to liberate him on receiving five florins for himself and
seventy more for necessary expenses; but, although Galosna pledged all
his property to raise the sum, this device seems to have failed. On
December 29 he was brought before the count himself, after being warned
by di Brayda that if he confirmed his confession he should be hanged. He
accordingly retracted it, but was not liberated, and a month later, in
the presence of the count and the inquisitor, he repeated that his
confession had been extorted by violence. Apparently he was made the
subject of a prolonged debate between State and Church, in which the
latter triumphed, for on May 29 we find him in the possession of the
Bishop of Turin and of the inquisitor, undergoing examination in the
castle of Dross, near Turin.[289]

He proved a mine of information well worth the repeated interrogatories
which extended from May 29 to July 10, for he had been a member of the
sect for twenty-five years and a wandering missionary for fifteen, and
was familiar with all the congregations, which appear to have been
numerous, some in the neighborhood of Turin, but mostly in the lower
Alpine valleys between Pignerol and Susa. Though he repeatedly alludes
to the sectaries as Vaudois, they had no affinity with the Waldenses,
and it is observable that he makes no reference to their existence in
any of the distinctive Waldensian valleys, such as Angrogna, Perosa, or
San Martino. They were mostly poor folk--peasants, servants, muleteers,
innkeepers, mechanics, and artisans, and the chiefs of their
“synagogues” were generally of this class, although occasionally a
clerk, a canon, a notary, or other educated person is enumerated among
the members. What were their precise distinctive tenets it is not easy
to define with accuracy. Galosna’s rough handling had evidently rendered
him eager to satisfy the credulity of his examiners, and the imaginative
character of some of his revelations casts a doubt on the truthfulness
of them all. The applicant for initiation had to drink a beverage, foul
of aspect, made with the excrement of a toad kept for the purpose;
taken in excess it was apt to prove fatal, and its power was such that
whoso once partook of it could never thereafter abandon the sect.
Martino del Prete, the chief heresiarch, had a black cat as large as a
lamb, which he declared to be the best friend he had on earth. We may
safely set down the accounts of the sexual abominations which succeeded
religious services in the conventicles, when the lights were
extinguished, as worthy of equal credence. Contradictions in the
repeated statements of the doctrines taught show that Galosna’s
imagination served him better than his memory in his prolonged
examinations. He was told that in joining the sect he would secure
salvation in glory with God the Father, and yet he declares that the
sect rejected immortality, and held that the soul died with the
body--and again, that there was no purgatory, but only heaven and hell
hereafter. They believed, moreover, in God the Father who created the
heavens, but they worshipped the Great Dragon, the creator of the world,
who fought God and the angels, and was more powerful than he on earth.
Christ was not the Son of God, but of Joseph, and was worthy of no
special reverence. Altogether the account is hopelessly confused, but we
can discern the dualism of a bastard Catharism, and allusions are made
to the _consolamentum_ and the sacrament of bread. Like Jacopo Bech,
Galosna had already abjured in the hands of Frà Tommaso da Casacho. Both
were therefore relapsed; there was no mercy for them, and on September
5, 1388, they were abandoned to the secular arm in Turin and necessarily
burned. Unfortunately the record ends here, and we have no details as to
the rich harvest which Frà Antonio must have reaped from the ample
information obtained from his victims as to the scattered members of the

Notwithstanding these evidences of vitality, Catharism was rapidly dying
out. The latest definite reference to it, west of the Adriatic, occurs
in 1403, when San Vicente Ferrer, the great Spanish revivalist,
undertook a peaceful mission in the remote valleys which no Catholic
priest had dared to visit for thirty years, when he found and converted
a number of Cathari dwelling among the Waldenses. He regarded as a form
of Manichæism the worship of the rising sun which he found habitual
among the peasants of the diocese of Lausanne, and some such survival of
nature-worship was probably not infrequent, for a penitent of Frà
Antonio Secco, in 1387, speaks of adoring the sun and moon on bended
knees. Yet there would seem to be a remnant of Catharism lingering among
the Waldenses of the Savoy valleys as late as 1451, when Filippo Regis
was tried by the Inquisition.[291]

       *       *       *       *       *

Italian Waldensianism continued to flourish in the mountain fastnesses
of Piedmont, where the endless struggle with parsimonious nature
fostered the hardier virtues. Thence, as we have seen, were emigrants
and even colonies sent out, as persecution scattered the faithful or as
population outgrew the narrow means of subsistence. The kindlier climate
and less aggressive Inquisition of Naples finally rendered the southern
colonies the headquarters of the sect, with which constant
intercommunication was kept up. In 1387 we are told that the chief
pontiff resided in Apulia and that the Waldensian community at Barge in
Piedmont was presided over by two Apulians. A century later the mother
communities in the Cottian Alps still looked to southern Italy as to the
centre of their Church.[292]

In 1292 we hear of persecutions in the Val Perosa, and again in 1312
there were burnings of obstinate heretics in the valleys, but these
efforts effected little, for in 1332 a brief of John XXII. describes the
Waldensian church of the diocese of Turin as being in a most flourishing
condition. The heretics were so numerous that they disdained
concealment, holding assemblies in public in which as many as five
hundred would be gathered together. When Frà Giovanni Alberto, the
Inquisitor of Turin, had recently made an effort to repress them, they
boldly rose in arms. On the public square of Angrogna they slew the
parish priest Guillelmo, whom they suspected of furnishing information,
and Alberto himself they besieged in a castle where he had taken refuge,
so that he was glad to escape with his life, leaving the land abandoned
to heresy. For twenty years and more one of their principal chiefs had
been a man named Pier Martino, known also as Giuliano or Martino
Pastrae, who chanced in his wandering missions to fall into the hands of
Jean de Bades, the Inquisitor of Provence. The pope thereupon orders the
latter to deliver his prisoner to Frà Alberto, who will be able to
extract from him information of the utmost value in tracking and seizing
his fellow-religionists--information, as the pope suggests, which will
justify the use of torture. Doubtless this lucky capture enabled Frà
Alberto to lay hands on a number of outlying heretics, though he
probably did not again venture his person in the populous communities
which had shown so sturdy a readiness in self-protection.[293]

Persecution continued, and in 1354 we chance to hear of an order issued
by Giacomo, Prince of Piedmont, to the Counts of Luserna, to imprison a
number of Waldenses recently discovered in Luserna and the neighboring
valleys. The order was issued at the instance of Pietro di Ruffia,
Inquisitor of Piedmont, who paid for his zeal with his life, being
shortly afterwards slain at Susa. In 1363 and 1364 Urban V. made another
attempt to reduce the heretics to obedience. The infected district was
exposed to attack on both sides, for the jurisdiction of the Inquisitor
of Provence extended over the Tarantaise. Frère Jean Richard of
Marseilles was directed to assail them from the west, while the
inquisitor and the Bishop of Turin were busy on the east. Amadeo of
Savoy was requested to co-operate with the Seneschal of Provence, and
this combined assault resulted in a number of captures and trials. It
was doubtless the mingled despair and thirst for revenge excited by this
that led to many Waldenses joining in the rising of the Jacquerie in
Savoy in 1365--a rising which was suppressed with the customary
merciless cruelty by the King of Navarre and Wenzel of Brabant. In spite
of these efforts at repression a letter written by them in 1368, to
their German brethren, would seem to show that they were still regarded
as the leaders of the sect.[294]

Gregory XI. was especially zealous in the warfare with heresy, and we
have already seen how earnest were his efforts in 1375 to suppress the
Waldenses of Provence and Dauphiné. Those of Piedmont had rendered
themselves peculiarly obnoxious. Frà Antonio Pavo had recently gone to
“Bricarax,” a place deeply infected with heresy, to preach against
them--his sermon, of course, including a summons before his
tribunal--when in place of humbly submitting, a dozen of them, incited
by the Evil One, had set upon him as he left the church and had slain
him. Another inquisitor, probably Pietro di Ruffia, had met the same
fate in the Dominican cloister at Susa, on the day of the Purification
of the Virgin (February 2). Such misdeeds demanded exemplary
chastisement, and Gregory’s exhortations to Charles V. of France were
accompanied with the strongest urgency on Amadeo VI. of Savoy to clear
his land of brambles. We have seen how successful were the labors of the
Nuncio, Antonio Bishop of Massa, and the Inquisitor of Provence,
François Borel. They did not confine their energies to the French
valleys. The Waldenses of the Val di Susa were exposed to the most
pitiless persecution; on a Christmas night Borel with an armed force
attacked Pragelato, putting to the sword all whom he could reach. The
wretches who escaped perished of hunger and cold, including, it is said,
fifty women with children at the breast.[295]

It may be hoped that this holocaust satisfied the manes of the murdered
inquisitors, for they seem to have received no other satisfaction. A
succession of inquisitors--Piero di Castelmonte, Ruffino di Terdona,
Tommaso da Casacho, and Michele Grassi, undaunted by the fate of their
predecessors, wasted their energies on the Piedmontese Waldenses without
reducing them to subjection. The pitiless forays of Borel drove the poor
wretches from their native valleys, and they poured over into Piedmont.
Amadeo VII., who succeeded his father in 1383, seems to have given the
Inquisition but slender support, and it had little encouragement in its
efforts to subdue the stubborn mountaineers. The fragmentary records of
Frà Antonio Secco, who undertook the work in the spring of 1387, show
how fruitless was the endeavor to co-operate with the ruthless
proselytism of Borel. It is true that he caught Isabel Ferreria, the
wife of Giovanni Gabriele, one of the murderers of Antonio Pavo, and had
the satisfaction of torturing her, but he could get no evidence against
her, and could only learn that her husband had died in 1386. Some other
suspects he tortured and penanced with crosses: apparently he had no
prisons at his disposal in which to incarcerate them. Accusations and
denunciations poured in to him by the hundred, showing that the land was
alive with heretics, but he was powerless to inflict on them punishment
that would make an impression. One of his first cases had been a certain
Lorenzo Bandoria, who had abjured before Antonio Pavo, and who under
torture confessed to continued heresy. Here was a clear case of relapse,
and accordingly, on March 31, he was abandoned to the secular arm and
all his property declared confiscated to the Inquisition. This proved a
mere _brutum fulmen_, for on May 6 Frà Antonio was obliged to issue a
mandate to Ugonetto Bruno, Lord of Ozasco, ordering him, under pain of a
hundred marks, to capture Lorenzo and present him before the tribunal
the next day, while the treasurer of Ozasco was required, under threat
of excommunication, to appear at the same time with an inventory of all
the convict’s property. As Lorenzo had been handed over to the Castellan
of Pignerol for execution, it is evident that the officials refused to
carry out the sentences of the inquisitor, nor does this new effort
appear to have had any better result. Many of his citations were
disregarded, and when, on May 19, he ordered the lords of Ozasco to
arrest three heretics under penalty of a hundred marks, no attention
seems to have been paid to the command. This insubordination increased,
and as the season advanced we observe that when an accused refuses to
confess, the dread entry “the lord inquisitor is not content” is not
followed by the customary torture, but that the culprit is mercifully
dismissed under bail. One case gave Frà Antonio infinite disgust. On
June 27 he cited Giacomo Do and Sanzio Margarit of Sangano; they did not
appear, but on August 6 he found them in Turin and seized them. For
fifteen days he kept them in chains, when they broke jail, but by the
help of God he caught them again and carried them to the castle of
Avegliana, where they remained ten days. He had been unable to get them
tortured, and they would not confess without it; the magistrates of
Avegliana appealed to Count Amadeo, who ordered them released, and Frà
Antonio records the unwillingness with which he obeyed the command. He
endeavored to turn his stay in Avegliana to account by publishing the
customary monition for all persons to come forward and confess their own
heresy or denounce those who were suspect. For nine days he waited, but
not a soul appeared to accuse himself or his neighbors, and he departed,
grieved at heart over the obduracy of the people, for it was common fame
that there were many heretics there and in the neighborhood, especially
at Coazze and Valgione. The final blow came when in December he issued a
summons to all the officials of Val Perosa, one of the recognized
Waldensian valleys, reciting that their land was full of heretics and
that they must appear before him in Pignerol to purge themselves and
their communities of this infamy. They did not obey, but through the
intervention of the Piedmontese Chancellor, Giovanni di Brayda, and
other courtiers, they agreed to pay Count Amadeo five hundred florins a
year, for which he was to prevent the inquisitor from visiting Val
Perosa, and they were to be exempted from obeying his citations. This
was too much to endure, and Frà Antonio shook the dust of Pignerol from
his feet for the more promising chase of the Cathari near Turin, first
denouncing the officials of Val Perosa as having incurred
excommunication and the penalties of contumacy, the only result of which
was to draw upon his head the wrath of Count Amadeo. It does not appear
that he had any better success in endeavoring to obtain for his
Inquisition the confiscations of the people of Pragelato condemned by
the Provençal inquisitor, François Borel. By a special privilege of
Clement VII. the latter’s jurisdiction had been extended over some of
the Piedmontese valleys, and though Frà Antonio might abandon the
persons of the heretics to his Franciscan rival, he was resolved, if he
could, to retain their property. These mishaps of Frà Antonio have an
interest, not only as a rare instance of difficulties thrown into the
path of the Inquisition, but as explaining why the fierce persecutions
of Borel had so little effect in diminishing Waldensianism.[296]
Pragelato, however, suffered more severely in 1400 when, about
Christmas, it was attacked by an armed force from Susa. The inhabitants
who escaped death or capture took refuge on the mountain-tops of the Val
San Martino, where many perished from exposure in the inclement season;
and the survivors, on returning after the departure of the troops, found
their dwellings dismantled. This cold-blooded cruelty shocked even
Boniface IX., who ordered the inquisitor in charge of the foray to
moderate his zeal in future.[297]

Vicente Ferrer’s visit of 1403 was of a more peaceful nature, but it is
not likely that the conversions of which he boasted were more permanent
than those which his eloquence effected with the Moors and Jews of his
native land, where they eagerly clamored for baptism under the
persuasion of massacre.[298]

During the Great Schism persecution slackened, but already, in 1416,
fresh decrees were issued against the Waldenses. Our knowledge of
details is but fragmentary at best, and it is impossible to construct a
complete history of the conflict between them and the Inquisition, but
we may fairly infer that the latter was at least spasmodically active. A
petition addressed to the Duke of Savoy by the lords of Luserna recites
that the inhabitants of the valley were in full rebellion, owing to
repeated persecution; the document is without date, but must be
posterior to 1417, when Sigismund erected the county into a duchy.
Again, we know that, between 1440 and 1450, Frà Bertrando Piero, vicar
of the inquisitor, in one raid burned at Coni twenty-two relapsed
heretics, and confiscated their property. This happens to be alluded to
in a memorial addressed in 1457 to Calixtus III., by the people of the
neighboring village of Bernez, who proceed to relate that after this
exploit Frà Bertrando visited their town in company with his principal,
Frà Ludovico da Soncino, and commenced an inquisition there, but
abandoned it, to the scandal of the people, without concluding the
trials. Then Felix V. (Amadeo of Savoy) sent the Abbot of San-Piero of
Savigliano to complete the unfinished business, who acquitted a number
of the accused. Then recently there had come a new inquisitor who took
up the cases again and molested those who had been discharged, whereupon
they petitioned the pope that he be restrained from further proceedings
until two experts in theology be appointed as assessors by the Bishop of
Mondovi and the Abbot of Savigliano. The presentation of such a request
shows how much the Inquisition had lost of its power of inspiring awe,
and this is emphasized by the action of Calixtus in ordering the Bishop
of Turin and the inquisitor to associate with themselves two experts and
proceed with the cases. It indicates, moreover, that little rest was
allowed to the Waldenses. While this affair was dragging its slow length
along, Nicholas V., in 1453, addressed to the Bishops of Turin and Nice
and to the Inquisitor Giacomo di Buronzo, a bull reciting that Giacomo
had found in the Valley of Luserna a majority of the inhabitants
infected with heresy, many of them having relapsed repeatedly. Unable to
convert them, he had placed an interdict on the valley; the people had
repented and begged for readmission to the Church, wherefore Nicholas
orders the removal of the interdict, and that penitents, whether
relapsed or not, be pardoned and restored to all their civil rights--a
degree of lenity which indicates that sterner measures at the time were
clearly inexpedient.[299]

In 1475 a more serious war of extermination was commenced against them
under the Duchess Yolande, Regent of Savoy, in conjunction with the
simultaneous action of the Inquisition in Dauphiné. By an edict of
January 23, 1476, all the officials in the infected districts were
placed at the disposition of the Inquisition, and the podestà of Luserna
was cited to appear on February 10, to answer for his conduct, in
refusing, at the instance of the Inquisitor Andrea di Aquapendente, to
make proclamation that none of the converts of Giacomo di Buronzo should
be permitted to effect sales greater in amount than one florin, and that
all sales which had been made by them were void, for they had relapsed,
were endeavoring to emigrate, and to dispose of their property, which
was legally confiscated. Louis XI., who stopped the persecution, as we
have seen, so unceremoniously in his own dominions, felt interest enough
in the matter to extend protection over the unfortunates in his sister’s
territories, and his word had power sufficient to dampen the zeal of the
duchess, who was wholly dependent on him after the misfortunes of
Charles the Bold. Sixtus IV. was much scandalized by this. He had sent a
special papal commissioner to speed the holy work, and he wrote
pressingly to Louis, assuming that the royal letters of protection must
have been surreptitiously obtained. He instructed the Bishop of Turin to
go, if possible, in person to Louis and to make every effort to
exterminate the heretics, who dared openly to propagate their doctrines
and make converts, to the ruin of immortal souls. The death of Louis, in
1483, deprived the Waldenses of their protector, and persecution
recommenced. An order of Duke Carlo I., in 1484, to inquire into the
violences committed by the people of Angrogna, Villaro, and Bobbio
because their lords endeavored to suppress their heresies, shows how
soon and how bitterly the struggle broke out afresh. The heretics
scattered through the towns of Piedmont were mercilessly dealt with by
the inquisitors, but those who inhabited the mountain valleys were safe,
except from assault by overwhelming forces. In April, 1487, Innocent
VIII. recites how the inquisitor-general, Frà Blasio di Monreale, had
gone to the infected district, and had vainly sought by earnest
exhortations to induce the heretics to abandon their errors; how they
had contemptuously defied his censures, had continued openly to preach
and make converts, had attacked his house, slain his familiar, and
pillaged his goods. More strenuous efforts were evidently requisite, and
Innocent appointed Alberto de’ Capitanei, Archdeacon of Cremona, as
papal nuncio and commissioner to Piedmont and Dauphiné, with
instructions to coerce the people to receive Frà Blasio, and permit the
free exercise of his office, and to crush the heretics like venomous
serpents. To this end Alberto was empowered to preach a crusade with
plenary indulgences, and to deprive of their office and dignities all,
whether ecclesiastics or laymen, who refused to obey his commands. From
February to May, 1488, he duly issued his citations to the heretics, and
as they were contumacious, he condemned them accordingly and abandoned
them in mass to the secular arm. Meanwhile a force estimated at eighteen
thousand crusaders had been raised in France and Piedmont, which
advanced in four columns so as to block every avenue of escape. The
slaughter in Val Louise has already been alluded to. The Val d’Angrogna
was more fortunate, and in the attack upon it the crusading army was
virtually annihilated. This victory earned for the Waldenses a respite,
and in 1490 Carlo I. invited them to a conference at Pignerol, where he
granted them peace and confirmed their privileges. In 1498 they were
visited by Lucas of Prague and Thomas Germanus, envoys of the _Unitas
Fratrum_ of Bohemia. Through these they addressed a letter to the
Bohemian King Ladislas and his nobles, boasting that they did not
frequent the Catholic churches, fiercely denouncing the vices of the
priesthood, and arguing that the benediction of such men was rather a
malediction. Evidently the spirit of the persecuted saints was unbroken,
and it was soon after put to the test in the valley of the Po, where
whole villages were found to consist of Waldenses. Marguerite de Foix,
Marchioness of Saluces, put troops at the command of the Inquisitor
Angelo Ricciardino, who had found his ordinary machinery baffled. The
villages of Pravillelm, Beitoneto, and Oncino were raided; most of the
inhabitants succeeded in escaping to Luserna, but some were captured,
and five were sentenced to be burned, March 24, 1510. A heavy snow-storm
delayed the execution, and during the ensuing night the prisoners broke
jail and joined their comrades. The inquisitor, however, was not to be
balked of his exhibition, and replaced the fugitives with three
prisoners to whom he had promised pardon in consideration of the fulness
of their confessions, and who were duly burned. The deserted villages
were confiscated and made over to good Catholics, but the refugees at
intervals descended on them, slaying and spoiling without mercy, till no
one dared to dwell there. Finally the bigoted marchioness yielded, and
for a round sum of money, in 1512, permitted the exiles to return and
dwell in peace. The triumph of toleration thus won by the sword was but
local and temporary. In Savoy, the statutes published in 1513 contain
all the time-honored provisions for the suppression of heresy, with
instructions to all public officials to aid in every way the
Inquisition, whose expenses are to be defrayed out of the confiscations.
Continued persecution was thus provided for, nor was it averted when, in
1530, the Waldenses opened negotiations with the Protestants of
Switzerland, resulting in their final incorporation with the

These incessant ravages naturally led to emigration on an extended
scale, which, as we have seen, mostly turned itself to Calabria and
Apulia, where the brethren had dwelt in comparative peace for nearly two
centuries. A large portion of the population of Freyssinières, for
instance, expatriated themselves and settled in the valley of Volturara.
The Inquisition was virtually extinct in the kingdom of Naples during
the fifteenth century, and the heretics had earned toleration by a
decent reserve. They attended mass occasionally, allowed their children
to be baptized by the priests, and, what was more important, they paid
their tithes with exemplary regularity--tithes which grew satisfactorily
under the incessant industry of the God-fearing husbandmen. The mountain
valleys which had been almost a desert became smiling with corn-fields
and pastures, orchards and vine-yards. The nobles on whose lands they
had settled under formal agreements gave willing protection to those who
contributed so greatly to their revenues. When the independence of the
feudatories was lost under the growing royal power of the House of
Aragon, the heretics sought and obtained, in 1497, from King Frederic,
the confirmation by the crown of the agreements with the nobles, and
thus felt assured of continued toleration. They were visited every two
years by the travelling pastors, or _barbes_, who came in pairs, an
elder, known as the _reggitore_, and a younger, the _coadiutore_,
journeying with some pretence of occupation, finding in every city the
secret band of believers whom it was their mission to comfort and keep
steadfast in the faith, and from whom they made collections which they
reported to the General Assembly or Council. Between Pignerol and
Calabria they counted twenty-five days’ journey along the western
coast, returning by the eastern to Venice. Everywhere they met friends
acquainted with their secret passwords, and in spite of ecclesiastical
vigilance there existed throughout Italy a subterranean network of
heresy disguised under outward conformity. In 1497 the envoys from the
Bohemian Brethren, Lucas and Thomas, found in Rome itself one of their
faith, whom they bitterly reproached for concealing his belief. In
Calabria, in 1530, it was estimated that they numbered ten thousand
souls, in Venetia, six thousand. The fate of these poor creatures, after
generations of peaceful existence which might well seem destined to be
perpetual, belongs to a period beyond our present limits, but the fact
that they could thus prosper and increase shows how rusty had grown the
machinery of the Inquisition, and how incapable had become its

       *       *       *       *       *

It only remains for us to note cursorily such indications as have
reached us of the activity and condition of the Inquisition in the
several provinces of Italy during the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries. In Savoy, as we have seen, the bitter contest with the
Waldenses kept it in fair working condition, while it was gradually
falling into desuetude elsewhere, although in Lombardy it still, for a
while, maintained its terrors. We have a somewhat vague description of
its sleepless vigilance in 1318, in pursuing certain heretics who are
described as Lollards--whether Begghards or Waldenses does not appear,
but probably the latter, as we are told that when concealment became
impossible the men escaped to Bohemia, leaving some women with children
at the breast, whereupon the women were burned, and the children given
to good Catholics to be brought up in the faith. In 1344 we hear of a
great popular excitement, caused by the belief that a number of victims
of the Inquisition had suffered unjustly. Matters went so far that the
Imperial Vicar, Lucchino Visconti, asked Clement VI. to order an
investigation, which was duly held, though we do not know the result. It
was possibly the feeling thus aroused which led, in 1346, to the murder
in the Milanese of a Franciscan inquisitor conspicuous for his
persecuting zeal. The perpetual troubles during the century between the
Holy See and the Visconti cannot but have greatly interfered with the
efficiency of persecution. In the collected statutes of the Dukes of
Milan from 1343 to 1495 there is no allusion of any kind to the
Inquisition, or to the punishment of heretics. There is, however, on
record a decree of 1388 placing the civil officials at the service of
the Inquisition, but it enforces the conditions of the Clementines,
which require episcopal consent to the use of torture and harsh prison,
and to the final sentence. It moreover threatens inquisitors with
punishment for using their office to extort money or gratify malice; and
it further significantly commands them not to abuse the privilege of
armed familiars, or to unnecessarily multiply their officials. How the
political passions of the time hindered the functions of the Holy Office
is seen in the case of Frà Ubertino di Carleone, a bustling Franciscan,
subsequently Bishop of Lipari, who, about 1360, was accused of heresy by
the Inquisitor of Piacenza. He at once proclaimed that his Ghibellinism
was the motive of the prosecution, and aroused the factions of the city
to a tumult, under cover of which he escaped.[302]

Inquisitors, indeed, continued to be regularly appointed, and to perform
such of their functions as they could, but the decline in their
usefulness is shown by one of the earliest acts of Martin V., in 1417,
before leaving Constance, in commissioning the Observantine Franciscan,
Giovanni da Capistrano, as a special inquisitor against the heretics of
Mantua. From this time, in fact, when any effective effort against
heresy was called for, the regular machinery of the Inquisition was no
longer relied upon. It seems to have been regarded as effete for all the
purposes for which it had been instituted, and special appointments were
necessary of men devoted to the work, such as Capistrano and his friend
Giacomo della Marca. Just as the inquisitorial jurisdiction had
superseded the episcopal, so now both were overslaughed as insufficient.
Thus, in 1457, when a new heresy sprang up in Brescia and Bergamo
concerning Christ, the Virgin, and the Church Militant, infecting both
clergy and laity, and including suspicion of sorcery, Calixtus III.
ordered his nuncio in those parts, Master Bernardo del Bosco, to seize
the heretics and try them, with even more than the privileges of an
inquisitor, for he was empowered to proceed to final judgment and
execution without appeal, leaving it to his discretion whether he should
call for advice upon the inquisitors and episcopal ordinaries. Two years
later, in the case of Zanino da Solcia, to which I shall recur
hereafter, the sentence was rendered by the Lombard inquisitor, Frà
Jacopo da Brescia, but the examination took place in the presence of
Master Bernardo del Bosco, who moreover received the abjuration of
Zanino, and the sentence was sent to Pius II. and was modified by him.
The diminution of popular respect for the Inquisition was still further
manifested in 1459, by the doubts publicly expressed of the validity of
the bulls of Innocent IV. and Alexander IV. authorizing inquisitors to
preach crusades against heretics and to prosecute for heresy all persons
and communities impeding them, so that Calixtus III. was obliged to
reissue the authorization.[303]

A curious case occurring about this time illustrates the growing
indifference felt in Lombardy for the Inquisition. In Milan, about 1440,
a learned mathematician, named Amadeo de’ Landi, was accused of heresy
before the inquisitors. During the progress of his trial he was, to the
great damage of his reputation, denounced as a heretic by sundry friars
in their sermons, and among others by Bernardino of Siena, the saintly
head of the Observantines. The Inquisition pronounced him a good
Catholic and discharged him, but those who had slandered him offered no
reparation. The acquittal by the Inquisition apparently did not outweigh
the denunciations of Bernardino, and Amadeo appealed to Eugenius IV.,
who referred the matter to Giuseppe di Brippo, with power to enforce his
decision with censures. Giuseppe summoned the detractors to appear on a
certain day, and on their failing to present themselves condemned
Bernardino to make public retraction under pain of excommunication.
Bernardino paid no heed to this, and on his death in 1444, when
immediate efforts were made for his canonization, Amadeo raised great
scandal by proclaiming that he had died in mortal sin as an
excommunicate. This gratified the jealousy of the conventual branch of
the Franciscans and many of the secular clergy, who spread the scandal
far and wide. By this time, however, the Observantines were too
influential for such an assault upon their revered vicar-general to be
successful; and in 1447 they obtained from Nicholas V. a bull in which
he annulled all the proceedings of Giuseppe, ordered every record of
them to be destroyed, imposed silence on the unlucky Amadeo, declared
Bernadino to have acted righteously throughout, and forbade all clerks,
friars, and others from indulging in further detraction concerning him.
I may add that the opposition of the Conventuals was powerful enough to
postpone until 1450 the canonization of San Bernardino, and a humorous
incident in the struggle may be worth mention. When the blessed Tommaso
of Florence died at Rieti in 1447, and immediately began to coruscate in
miracles, Capistrano hurried thither and forbade him to display further
his thaumaturgic powers until Bernardino should be canonized--and
Tommaso meekly obeyed.[304]

Yet, shorn as the Inquisition had become of real effectiveness for its
avowed functions, the office continued to be sought, doubtless because
it conferred a certain measure of importance, and possibly because it
afforded opportunity of illicit gains. Inquisitors were regularly
appointed, and the custom grew up in Lombardy that in each city where a
tribunal existed vacancies were filled on the nomination of the prior of
the local Dominican convent with the assent of discreet brethren,
whereupon the General Master of the Order issued the commission. In 1500
this was modified by giving the Vicar-general of Lombardy power to
reject or ratify the nomination. The subordinate position to which the
inquisitorial office had fallen is illustrated in the last decade of the
fifteenth century by Frà Antonio da Brescia, who was inquisitor of his
native place, and who was claimed as an ornament of the Dominican Order,
but his eulogist has nothing to say as to his persecuting heretics,
while praising his pulpit labors in many of the Italian cities.[305]

       *       *       *       *       *

In Venice, as we have seen, the Inquisition never succeeded in shaking
off the trammels of state supervision and interference. In what spirit
the State regarded its relations with the Holy Office was exhibited in
1356, when Frà Michele da Pisa, the Inquisitor of Treviso, imprisoned
some Jewish converts who had apostatized. This was strictly within his
functions, but the secular officials interposed, forbade his proceeding
to try his prisoners, seized his familiars, and tortured them on the
charge of pilfering the property of the accused. These high-handed
measures provoked the liveliest indignation on the part of Innocent VI.,
but the republic stood firm, and nothing seems to have been gained. In
the correspondence which ensued, moreover, there are allusions to former
troubles which show that this was by no means the first time that Frà
Michele’s labors had been impeded by the secular power. Sometimes,
indeed, the Signoria completely ignored the Inquisition. In 1365 a case
in which a prisoner had blasphemed the Virgin was brought before the
Great Council, which ordered him to be tried by the vicar of the Bishop
of Castello, and on conviction to be banished, thus prescribing the
punishment, and recognizing only the episcopal jurisdiction.[306]

In 1373 Venice was honored with the appointment of a special inquisitor,
Frà Ludovico da San-Martino, while Frà Niccolò Mucio of Venice was made
Inquisitor of Treviso. This led to some debate about their partition of
the great Patriarchate of Aquileia, which extended from the province of
Spalatro to that of Milan. The Patriarchate of Grado (which was not
transferred to Venice till 1451) was adjudged to Ludovico, together with
the see of Jesol. This latter place, though close to Venice, was then,
we are told, in ruins, with a roofless cathedral serving as a place of
refuge for heretics, who there felt safe from persecution. This
partition did not improve the position of the inquisitor, whose
importance was reduced to a minimum. He seems, in fact, to be regarded
only as a functionary of the state police. In 1412 the Great Council
orders him, April 17, to put an end to the performance of divine service
by a Greek priest named Michael, whose celebrations attract great
crowds, and also to banish him, taking care to so manage the affair that
the interposition of the council may not be suspected; and a month
later, May 26, the order of banishment is revoked, but the prohibition
of celebration is maintained. In all his proper functions the inquisitor
was overslaughed and disregarded. In 1422 the Council of Ten appointed a
commission to examine some Franciscans charged with sacrificing to
demons and other abominable practices, and a month later they sent to
Martin V., requesting powers to terminate the matter, in view of the
immunities enjoyed by the Mendicants. When, in the following year, 1423,
the Senate withdrew the pecuniary provision with which the State had
always defrayed the expenses of the Inquisition, they marked their sense
of its inutility and their indifference to its power. This may possibly
have led to the reunion of the districts of Venice and Treviso, for, in
1433 and 1434, we find single inquisitors appointed to both. In the
latter year the lack of power of the incumbent, Frà Luca Cioni, is shown
by the fact that when he desired to proceed against Ruggieri da Bertona,
accused of heresy, he was forced to get Eugenius IV. to order the Bishop
of Castello (Venice) to assist him. A further recognition of the
inefficiency of the Inquisition is seen in the sending of Frà Giovanni
da Capistrano to Venice in 1437, when the Jesuats were accused of
heresy, and he acquitted them, and again, about 1450, when heretical
notions spread there concerning the origin and nature of the soul, which
he suppressed.[307]

Allusion has been made in a former chapter to the limitation imposed in
1450 by the Council of Ten on the number of armed familiars whom the
inquisitor might retain, reducing them to four, and in 1451 increasing
them to twelve, with instructions to the police to see that they were
really engaged in the duties of the Holy Office. In so large and
populous a district this sufficiently shows how purely nominal were the
functions of the Inquisition, and how close was the supervision
exercised by the State. Yet inquisitors continued to be appointed, but
when they attempted to exercise any independent jurisdiction we have
seen, in the case of the sorcerers of 1521, that even the most energetic
interference of Leo X. could not induce the Signoria to waive its right
of final decision.[308]

In Mantua, which formed part of the Patriarchate of Aquileia, we hear,
in 1494, of an inquisitor who, for lack of heresies to suppress,
assailed the _monts de piété_, or public pawning establishments, and all
who favored them. These institutions were founded about this period as a
charitable work for the purpose of rescuing the poor from the exactions
of the usurers and the Jews. Frà Bernardino da Feltre, a celebrated
Observantine Franciscan, made this a special object of his mission-work
in the Italian cities, and on his coming to Mantua he completely
silenced his adversaries. The decline of visible heresy at this period,
in fact, is illustrated in the very diffuse account which Luke Wadding
gives, year after year, of Bernardino’s triumphant progress throughout
Italy to call the people to repentance, when cities eagerly disputed
with each other the blessing of his presence. In all this there is no
allusion to any attacks by him on heresy; had there been any to assail,
his burning zeal would not have suffered it to enjoy impunity.[309]

       *       *       *       *       *

In Tuscany the growing insubordination felt towards the Inquisition was
manifested at Siena, in 1340, by the enactment of laws checking some of
its abuses. Frà Simone Filippo, the inquisitor, complained to Benedict
XII., who at once pronounced them null and void, and ordered them erased
from the statute-book. The relations between the Holy Office and the
people at this period, however, are more significantly displayed in a
series of events occurring at Florence, of which the details chance to
have been preserved. In Tuscany the triumph of orthodoxy had been
complete. A sermon of Frà Giordano da Rivalto, in 1304, asserts that
heresy was virtually exterminated: scarce any heretics remained, and
they were in strict hiding. This is confirmed by Villani, who tells us
that, by the middle of the century, there were no heretics in Florence.
This is doubtless too absolute an assertion, but the existence of a few
scattered Waldenses and Fraticelli offered scant excuse for such an
establishment as the inquisitor was accustomed to maintain. In 1337 the
papal nuncio, Bertrand, Archbishop of Embrun, took the incumbent of the
office severely to task for the abuse of appointing an excessive number
of assistants, and ordered him in future to restrict himself to four
counsellors and assessors, two notaries, two jailers, and twelve
ministers or familiars. This was by no means a small or inexpensive body
of officials; the Inquisition’s share of confiscations from the few
poverty-stricken heretics who could occasionally be picked up evidently
was insufficient to maintain such a corps, and means, either fair or
foul, must be found to render the income of the office adequate to the
wants of those who depended upon it for their fortunes. How this was
done, on the one hand by cheating the papal camera, and on the other by
extorting money on false charges of heresy and by selling to bravoes
licenses to carry arms, has already been pointed out. The former device
was one which, when detected, was difficult to condone, and its
discovery caused, in the commencement of 1344, a sudden vacancy in the
Florentine Inquisition. The republic was in the habit of suggesting
names to the Franciscan General for appointment, and sometimes its
requests were respected. In the present case it asked, February 26, that
the Tuscan inquisitor, Frà Giovanni da Casale, be permitted to exercise
his functions within the city, but the suggestion was unheeded, and in
March the post was given to Frà Piero di Aquila.[310]

Frà Piero was a distinguished member of the Franciscan Order. But two
months earlier he had been appointed chaplain to Queen Joanna of Naples,
and his Commentaries on the Sentences of Peter Lombard were highly
esteemed, receiving, in 1480, the honor of an edition printed at
Speier. A man so gifted was warmly welcomed, and the republic thanked
the Franciscan General for the selection. I have already detailed how he
fell into the same courses as his predecessor in cheating the papal
camera, how he was prosecuted for this, and for what the republic
officially denounced as “_estorsioni nefande_” committed on the
people, and how, within two years after his appointment, he was a
fugitive, not daring to stand trial. There is another phase of his
activity, however, which is worth recounting in some detail, as it
illustrates perfectly how useful an instrument was the Inquisition in
carrying out the wishes of the Roman curia in matters wholly
disconnected with the purity of the faith.[311]

The Cardinal of Santa Sabina, while visiting various courts in the
capacity of papal legate, had had occasion to collect large sums. In
charity to him we may assume, what doubtless was the truth, that the
money belonged to the pope, although it stood in the cardinal’s name on
the books of his bankers, the great Florentine company of the
Acciajuoli. In receiving it the members of the company had bound
themselves jointly and severally for its repayment, agreeing to subject
themselves to the judgment of the Court of Auditors of the Apostolic
Chamber. In 1343 there was due the cardinal some twelve thousand
florins, which the Acciajuoli were unable to pay. A commercial and
financial crisis had paralyzed the commerce and industries of the city.
Its bankers had advanced vast sums to Edward III. of England and to
Robert the Good of Naples, and clamored in vain for repayment. The
Lombard war had exhausted the public treasury and the whole community
was bankrupt. Not only the Acciajuoli, but the Bardi, the Peruzzi, and
other great banking-houses closed their doors, and ruin stared the
Florentines in the face. There was at least one creditor, however, who
was resolved to have his money.[312]

On October 9, 1343, Clement VI. wrote to the republic, stating the claim
of the cardinal and ordering the Signoria to compel the Acciajuoli to
pay it. Under the circumstances this was clearly impossible, but
judgment against the debtors had been rendered by the auditors of the
papal camera. This was enough to bring the affair within the sphere of
spiritual jurisdiction, and authority was sent to the inquisitor to
execute the sentence, calling in the aid of the secular arm, and, if
necessary, laying an interdict on the city. The matter dragged on until,
November 23, 1345, Frà Piero appeared before the Gonfaloniero and the
Priors of the Arts, and summoned them to imprison the debtors until
payment, under pain of excommunication and interdict; whereupon the
magistrates responded that, out of reverence for the pope and respect
for the inquisitor and to oblige the cardinal, they would lend the aid
of the secular arm. Still the money was not forthcoming, and although
such assets of the Acciajuoli as could be seized were delivered to Frà
Piero, and security was given for the balance, he held the whole
community responsible for the debt of a few of the citizens. The
discussion became angry, and when the inquisitor, in violation of a law
of the republic, committed the indiscretion of arresting Salvestro
Baroncelli, a member of the bankrupt company, as he was leaving the
palace of the Priors of the Arts, his three familiars who had committed
the offence were, in compliance with a savage statute, punished with
banishment and the loss of the right hand.

All this did not extract the money from the bankrupts, and Frà Piero
laid the city under interdict, but both the clergy and people refused to
observe it. The churches remained open and the rites of religion
continued to be celebrated, leading to a fresh series of prosecutions
against the bishop and priests. Inside the walls the Florentines might
disregard the censures of the Church, but a commercial community could
not afford to be cut off from intercourse with the world. Her citizens
and their goods were scattered in every trade-centre in Christendom, and
were virtually outlawed by the interdict. This was the reason alleged by
the priors when, June 14, 1346, they humbled their pride and sent
commissioners to Clement authorized to bind the republic to pay the debt
of the Acciajuoli to the cardinal, not exceeding seven thousand florins,
in eight months. Their submission was graciously received, and, February
28, 1347, the pope ordered the interdict removed, cautiously providing,
however, for its _ipso facto_ renewal in case the obligation for six
thousand six hundred florins was not met at maturity.[313]

Meanwhile another scene of the comedy was developing itself. In its
contest with Frà Piero the republic had not stood solely on the
defensive. Piero, papal nuncio at Lucca, who had in charge the
prosecutions against the inquisitors for embezzling the sums due to the
camera, had appointed as his deputy in Florence, Niccolò, Abbot of Santa
Maria, who proceeded against Frà Piero on that charge, to which the
Signoria added the accusation, sustained by abundant testimony, of
extorting from citizens large sums of money by fraudulent prosecutions
for heresy. By March 10, 1346, the Signoria was asking the appointment
of Frà Michele di Lapo as his successor. Frà Piero was a fugitive, and
refused to return and stand his trial when legally cited and tendered a
safe-conduct. After due delay, in 1347, the Abate Niccolò, being armed
with papal authority, declared him in default and contumacious, and then
proceeded to excommunicate him. The excommunication was published in all
the churches of Florence, and Frà Piero was thus cut off from the
faithful and abandoned to Satan. He could afford to regard all this with
calm philosophy. His success in collecting the cardinal’s money entitled
him to reward, and the booty of seven thousand florins which he had
personally carried off from Florence as the results of his two years’
inquisitorial career, could doubtless be used to advantage. While
Niccolò was vainly citing him, he was promoted, February 12, 1347, to
the episcopate of Sant-Angeli de’ Lombardi, and his excommunication was
answered, June 29, 1348, by his translation to the presumably preferable
see of Trivento. All that the Florentines could do was to petition
repeatedly that in future inquisitors should be selected from among
their own citizens, who would be less likely than strangers to be guilty
of extortions and scandals. Their request was respected at least in
1354, when a Florentine, Frà Bernardo de’ Guastoni, was appointed
Inquisitor of Tuscany.[314]

This was not likely to be effective, and the Signoria made a more
promising effort at self-protection by passing various laws imitated
from those adopted not long before at Perugia. To limit the abuse of
selling licenses to bear arms, the inquisitor, as we have seen, was
restricted to employing six armed familiars. Moreover, it was decreed
that no citizen could be arrested without the participation of the
podestà, who was required to seize all persons designated to him by the
bishop--the inquisitor not being alluded to--which would seem to leave
small opportunity for independent action by the latter, especially as he
was deprived of his private jail and was ordered to send all prisoners
to the public prison. He was further prohibited from inflicting
pecuniary punishments, and all whom he condemned as heretics were to be
burned. This was revolutionary in a high degree, and did not tend to
harmonize the relations between the republic and the papacy. The
desperate quarrel between them which arose in 1375 was caused by
political questions, but it was embittered by troubles arising from the
Inquisition, especially as a demand made by Innocent VI., in 1355, for a
revision of their statutes remained unheeded. In 1372 efforts were made
to obtain the removal of Frà Tolomeo da Siena, the Inquisitor of
Tuscany, who was exceedingly unpopular, but Gregory XI. expressed the
fullest confidence in him and ordered him to be protected by the
Vicar-general, Filippo, Bishop of Sabina. Yet the pope probably yielded,
for I find in 1373 that Frà Piero di Ser Lippo, who had already served
as Tuscan inquisitor in 1371, was again appointed to replace a certain
Frà Andrea di Ricco. With some intervals Frà Piero served until at least
1384, and he proved no more disposed than his predecessors to yield to
the resistance which the methods of the Inquisition inevitably provoked
in the free Italian cities. Pistoia had followed the example of Florence
in endeavoring to protect its citizens by municipal statutes, and in
1375 it was duly placed under interdict and its citizens were
excommunicated. At the same time Frà Piero complained of Florence as
impeding the free action of the Inquisition, and Gregory at once ordered
the Signoria to abrogate the obnoxious statutes. No attention was paid
to these commands by Florence, and when the rupture came the Florentine
mob expressed its feelings by destroying the inquisitorial prison and
driving the inquisitor from the city. It was also alleged that in the
disturbances a monk named Niccolò was tortured and buried alive. These
misdeeds, although denied by the Signoria, were alleged as a
justification of the terrible bull of March 31, 1376, fulminated against
Florence by Gregory. In this he not only excommunicated and interdicted
the city, but specially outlawed the citizens, exposing their property
wherever found to seizure, and their persons to slavery. This shocking
abuse was the direct outgrowth of the long series of legislation against
heresy, and was sanctioned by the public law of the period; everywhere
throughout Christendom the goods of Florentines were seized and the
merchants were glad to beg their way home, stripped of all they
possessed. Not all were so fortunate, as some pious monarchs, like
Edward III., in addition reduced them to servitude. No commercial
community could long endure a contest waged after this fashion, and, as
before, Florence was compelled to submit. In the peace signed July 28,
1378, the republic agreed to annul all laws restricting the Inquisition
and interfering with the liberties of the Church, and it authorized a
papal commissioner to expunge them from the statute-book. The Great
Schism, however, weakened for a time the aggressive energy of the
papacy, and much of the obnoxious legislation reappears in the revised
code of 1415.[315]

The career of Tommasino da Foligno, who died in 1377, has interest for
us, not only as illustrating the activity of the Inquisition of the
period, but also from the curious parallelism which it affords with that
of Savonarola. He was one of the prophets, like St. Birgitta of Sweden,
St. Catharine of Siena, and the Friends of God in the Rhinelands, who
were called forth by the untold miseries then afflicting mankind. A
tertiary of St. Francis, he had practised for three years the greatest
austerities as an anchorite, when God summoned him forth to preach
repentance to the warring factions whose savage quarrels filled every
city in the land with wretchedness. Like the other contemporary
prophets, he spared neither clerk nor layman; and his bitter
animadversions at Perugia on the evil life of Gerald, Abbot of
Marmoutiers, papal vicar for the States of the Church, may perhaps
account for his subsequent rough handling by the Inquisition. Gifted
with miraculous power, as well as with the spirit of prophecy, he
wandered from town to town, proclaiming the wrath of God, and
foretelling misfortunes which, in the existing state of society, were
almost sure to come to pass. To convince the incredulous at Siena, on a
midsummer day he predicted a frost for the morrow. When it duly came he
was accused of sorcery, seized by the Inquisition, and tortured nearly
to death, but he was discharged when a miracle established his innocence
and healed the wounds of the torture-chamber. After an intermediate
pilgrimage to far-off Compostella, his preaching at Florence excited so
much antagonism that again he was arrested by the Inquisition, cast into
a dungeon, and kept three days without food or drink, to be finally
discharged as insane. After his death at Foligno, unsuccessful attempts
were made to procure his canonization, and he long remained an object of
local veneration and worship.[316]

During the fifteenth century the Inquisition in central Italy subsided
into the same unimportance that we have witnessed elsewhere. The effect
of the Great Schism in reducing the respect felt for the papacy was
especially felt in Italy, and the papal officials lost nearly all power
of enforcing obedience, although the Inquisition at Pisa, when it was
strengthened by the presence of the council held there in 1409, took its
revenge on a man named Andreani, whom it burned for the crime of
habitually and publicly ridiculing it. When the schism was healed at
Constance, one of the earliest efforts of Martin V. was directed against
the Fraticelli, whose increase in the Roman province he especially
deprecated. In his bull on the subject, November 14, 1418, he complained
that when inquisitors endeavored to exercise their office against the
heretics the latter would claim the jurisdiction of some temporal lord
and then threaten and insult their persecutors, so that the latter were
afraid to perform their functions. Martin’s only remedy was practically
to supersede the inquisitors by special appointments, and this naturally
sank the institution to a deeper degradation. Thus in 1424, when there
were three Fraticelli to be tried in Florence, Martin placed the matter
in the hands of Frà Leonardo, a Dominican professor of theology. Still
the office of inquisitor continued to be sought and appointments to be
made with more or less regularity, from motives which can easily be
conjectured; but of activity against heresy there is scarce a trace. How
unimportant its functions had become in Bologna may be gathered from the
fact that in 1461 the inquisitor, Gabriele of Barcelona, was sent to
Rome by his superiors to teach theology in the convent of Minerva, when
Pius II. authorized him to appoint a vicar to discharge his duties
during his absence. Ten years afterwards the Bolognese inquisitor, Frà
Simone da Novara, was fortunate enough to lay hands on a man named
Guizardo da Sassuolo, who was suspected of heresy. So completely were
such proceedings forgotten that he felt obliged to apply for
instructions to Paul II., who congratulated him on the capture, ordered
him to proceed according to the canons, and desired the episcopal vicar
to co-operate. Heretics evidently had grown scarce, and the
inquisitorial functions had fallen into desuetude.[317]

In Rome, when there really was a heresiarch to condemn, there was no
Inquisition at hand to perform the duty. In the proceedings against
Luther there is no trace of its intervention. The bull _Exsurge Domine_,
June 15, 1520, contains no allusion to his doctrines having been
examined by it; when they were publicly condemned, June 12, 1521, the
ceremony was performed by the Bishop of Ascoli, Auditor of the Rota, and
Silvestro Prierias, Master of the Sacred Palace, while the sentence
which consigned his effigy and his books to the flames was pronounced by
Frà Cipriano, professor in the College of Sacred Theology. It was
perhaps the most momentous _auto de fé_ that has ever been celebrated,
but the Inquisition can boast of no participation in it.[318]

       *       *       *       *       *

In the Two Sicilies the Inquisition dragged on a moribund existence.
Letters of King Robert in 1334 and 1335 and of Joanna I. in 1342 and
1343 show that inquisitors continued to be appointed and to receive the
royal exequatur, but they were limited to making fifty arrests each, and
record of these was required to be entered in the royal courts; they had
no jails, and the royal officials received their prisoners and tortured
them when called upon. The Jews appear to be the main object of
inquisitorial activity, and this can only have been halting, for in 1344
Clement VI. orders his legate at Naples, Aymerico, Cardinal of S.
Martino, to punish condignly all apostate Jews, as though there were no
Inquisition at work there. Yet in 1362 there were three inquisitors in
Naples, Francesco da Messina, Angelo Cicerello da Monopoli, and Ludovico
da Napoli, who took part in the trial of the rebellious Luigi di
Durazzo. Still, when efforts were to be made against the Fraticelli,
Urban V., in 1368, deemed it necessary to send a special inquisitor, Frà
Simone del Pozzo, to Naples. Although his jurisdiction extended over the
island of Sicily, Gregory XI., in 1372, when informed that the relics of
the Fraticelli were venerated there as those of saints, ordered the
prelates to put a stop to it, as though he had no inquisitor to call
upon. Yet Frà Simone was there in that year, and had a theological
disputation with Frà Niccolò di Girgenti, a learned Franciscan who had
been provincial of his Order. The question turned upon some scholastic
subtleties respecting the three persons of the Trinity, and as each
disputant claimed the victory, Simone proceeded to settle the matter by
secretly prosecuting his antagonist for heresy. Niccolò got wind of this
and at once appealed to Rome, before the Archbishop of Palermo,
demanding his _apostoli_--an appeal which Simone pronounced frivolous.
The revelations made by Niccolò as to his antagonists present a most
dismal picture of the internal condition of the Church at the time,
although Frà Simone’s learning and ascetic life won him the popular
reputation of a saint, and he obtained the bishopric of Catania,
becoming an important political personage. In 1373 Frederic III. issued
letters to all the royal officials ordering them to lend all aid to him
and to his familiars, and the Inquisition seems to have been firmly
established, with prisons of its own. In 1375 we find Gregory applying
to the king for the confiscations, and procuring from the revenues of
Palermo an appropriation of twelve ounces of gold, to be applied to the
extermination of heresy. In this recrudescence of persecution the Jews
appear to have been the principal victims. They appealed to Frederic,
who in the same year, 1375, issued letters severely blaming the
inquisitors and ordering that in future their prisoners should be
confined only in the royal jails; that civil judges should assist in
their decisions, and that an appeal should lie to the High Court. This
was imposing serious limitations on inquisitorial jurisdiction, but no
reclamation against it appears to have been made. In Naples, letters of
Charles III., issued in 1382 to Frà Domenico di Astragola and Frà
Leonardo di Napoli, show that inquisitors continued to be appointed. In
1389 Boniface IX. seems to unite Naples with Sicily by appointing Frà
Antonio Traverso di Aversa as inquisitor on both sides of the Faro; but
in 1391 another brief of the same pope alludes to the Inquisition of
Sicily having become vacant by the death of Frà Francesco da Messina,
and as there is customarily but one inquisitor there he fills the
vacancy by the appointment of Frà Simone da Amatore. Frà Simone had a
somewhat stormy career. Already, in 1392, he was replaced by Frà
Giuliano di Mileto, afterwards Bishop of Cefalù, but seems to have
regained his position, for in 1393 he was obliged by King Martin to
refund moneys extorted from some Jews whom he had prosecuted for holding
illicit relations with Christian women, and was told not to interfere
with matters beyond his jurisdiction. Engaging in treasonable
intrigues, he was driven from the island, and in 1397 we find him acting
as papal legate and provincial in Germany. In 1400 he obtained his
pardon from King Martin, and was allowed to reside in Syracuse, but was
strictly forbidden from exercising the office of inquisitor. Meanwhile,
in 1395, we hear of Guglielmo di Girgenti as inquisitor, and in 1397, of
Matteo di Catania, a sentence by whom in that year, fining a Jew and his
wife in forty ounces, was confirmed by the king, showing that the
Inquisition continued to be subordinated to the civil power. Frà Matteo
was inquisitor on both sides of the Faro, for a royal letter of 1399
describes him as such, and orders obedience rendered to his vicar, while
another of 1403 shows that he still retained the position. A royal
decree of 1402 specially provides for Jews an appeal to the king from
all inquisitorial sentences, thus continuing what had long been the
practice. In 1415 royal letters confirming the appointment of Frà
Antonio de Pontecorona, others of 1427 in favor of Frà Benedetto da
Perino, and of 1446, in favor of Frà Andrea de la Pascena, show that the
organization was maintained, but all sentences were required to be
transmitted to the viceroy, who submitted them to a royal judge before
they were valid. Thus, in 1451, King Alfonso confirmed a fine of ten
thousand florins, levied upon the Jews as a punishment for their usuries
and other offences.[319]

On the mainland we have seen proof of the decay of the Inquisition in
the undisturbed growth of the Waldensian communities, and the complete
breaking-down of its machinery is fairly illustrated in 1427, when
Joanna II. undertook to enforce certain measures against the Jews of her
kingdom. Had there been an effective and organized Inquisition she would
have required no better instrument for her purpose; and it could only
have been the absence of this that led her to call in the indefatigable
persecutor, Frà Giovanni da Capistrano, to whom she issued a commission
to coerce the Jews to abandon usury and to wear the sign Tau, as
provided by law. He was empowered to decree such punishments as he
might deem fit, which were to be mercilessly inflicted by all judges and
other officials, and he was moreover to constrain, under pain of
confiscation, the Jews to surrender to him for cancellation all letters
and privileges granted to them by former monarchs. Yet there was still a
simulacrum of the Inquisition maintained, for in the following year,
1428, we find Martin V. confirming the appointment of Frà Niccolò di
Camisio as Inquisitor of Benevento, Bari, and the Capitanata.[320]

Whatever vitality the Inquisition retained was still more reduced when,
in 1442, the House of Aragon obtained the throne of Naples. Giannone
tells us that the Aragonese princes rarely admitted inquisitors, and,
when they did so, required minute reports as to their every official
act, never permitting any conviction without the participation of the
secular magistrates, followed by royal confirmation, as we have seen to
have been the case in Sicily. When, in 1449, Nicholas V. appointed Frà
Matteo da Reggio as inquisitor to exterminate the apostate Jews who were
said to be numerous throughout the kingdom, the terms employed would
seem to indicate that for some time the Inquisition had been practically
extinct, although but two years before he had given a commission to Frà
Giovanni da Napoli, and although subsequent inquisitors were
occasionally appointed.[321]

In Sicily, however, in 1451, the Inquisition obtained fresh vitality by
means of an ingenious device. Frà Enrico Lugardi, Inquisitor of Palermo,
produced a most impudent forgery in the shape of a long and elaborate
privilege purporting to have been issued by the Emperor Frederic II. in
1224, ordering all his Sicilian subjects to give aid and comfort to the
“inquisitors of heretical pravity,” and stating that, as it was
unfitting that all confiscations should inure to the royal fisc without
rewarding the inquisitors for their toils and perils, the confiscations
henceforth should be divided equally between the fisc, the Inquisition,
and the Holy See; moreover, all Jews and infidels were required once a
year to supply inquisitors and their attendants, when in prosecution of
their duty, with all necessaries for man and beast. Though the
fraudulent character of this document was conspicuous on its face, to
say nothing of a blunder in the regnal year of its date, the age was not
a critical one; Frà Enrico seems to have had no trouble in inducing King
Alonso to confirm it, and it was subsequently confirmed again in 1477 by
Ferdinand and Isabella. The privileges which it conferred were
substantial, and gave fresh importance to the Inquisition, although its
judgments were still subjected to revision by the civil power. When, in
1474, famine led Sixtus IV. to request of the Viceroy Ximenes the
shipment of a large supply of corn from Sicily to Rome, he wrote to the
inquisitor, Frà Salvo di Cassetta, ordering him to strain every nerve to
secure the granting of the favor. The inquisitor at that time was
evidently a personage of influence, for Frà Salvo in fact was also
confessor of the viceroy. The central tribunal of the Inquisition sat in
Palermo, and there were three commissioners or deputies in charge of the
three “valleys” of the island.[322]

Ferdinand the Catholic, in founding the New Spanish Inquisition,
obtained for his grand inquisitor the power of nominating deputies in
all the dependencies of Castile and Aragon. About 1487 Fray Antonio de
la Peña was sent to Sicily in that capacity, who speedily organized the
Holy Office on its new basis throughout the island; and in 1492 an edict
of banishment was issued against the Jews, who, as of old, were the
chief objects of persecution. On the mainland there was more trouble.
When, in 1503, Ferdinand acquired the kingdom of Naples, the Great
Captain, Gonsalvo of Cordova, finding the people excited with the fear
that the Spanish Inquisition might be introduced, made a solemn compact
that no inquisitors should be sent thither. The old rules were kept in
force; no one was allowed to be arrested without a special royal
warrant, and no inquisitor could exercise any functions without the
confirmation of his commission by the royal representative.
Notwithstanding this, in 1504, Diego Deza, the Spanish inquisitor-general,
sent to Naples an inquisitor and a receiver of confiscated property,
with royal letters ordering them to have free exercise of their
authority, but Gonsalvo, who knew by how slender a tenure the new
dynasty held the allegiance of the people, seems not to have admitted
them. Under the excuse that the Jews and New Christians expelled from
Spain found refuge in Naples, the attempt was again made in 1510, and
Andres Palacio was sent there as inquisitor, but the populace rose in
arms and made demonstrations so threatening that even Ferdinand’s
fanaticism was forced to give way. The movements of the French in the
north of Italy were disquieting, the loyalty of the Neapolitans was not
to be relied upon, and the inquisitor was withdrawn with a promise that
no further effort would be made to force upon the people the dreaded
tribunal. Even Julius II. recognized the necessity of this and assented
to the understanding. The Calabrian and Apulian Waldenses thus had a
respite until the progress of the Reformation in Italy aroused the
Church to renewed efforts and to a complete reorganization of its
machinery of persecution.[323]



When Innocent III. found himself confronted with the alarming progress
of the Catharan heresy, his vigilant activity did not confine itself to
Italy and Languedoc. The home of the belief lay to the east of the
Adriatic among the Slavic races. Thence came the missionaries who never
ceased to stimulate the zeal of their converts, and every motive of
piety and of policy led him to combat the error at its source. Thus the
field of battle stretched from the Balkans to the Pyrenees along a front
of over a thousand miles, and the result might have been doubtful but
for the concentration of moral and material forces resulting from the
centralized theocracy founded by Hildebrand.

The contest in the regions south of Hungary is instructive as an
illustration of the unconquerable persistence of Rome in conducting for
centuries an apparently resultless struggle, undeterred by defeat,
taking advantage of every opening for a renewal of the strife, and using
for its ends the ambition of monarchs and the self-sacrificing devotion
of zealots. A condensed review of the rapid vicissitudes of such a
contest is therefore not out of place, although the scene of action lay
too far from the centres of European life to have decisive influence
upon the development of European thought and belief, except as it served
as a refuge for the persecuted and a centre of orthodoxy to which
neophytes could be sent.

The vast regions east of the Adriatic scarce paid more than a nominal
spiritual allegiance to Rome. A savage and turbulent population,
conquered by Hungary towards the end of the eleventh century, and always
endeavoring to throw off the yoke, was Christian in little more than
name. Such Christianity as it boasted, moreover, was not Latin. The
national ritual was Slavic, in spite of its prohibition by Gregory VII.,
and the Roman observance was detested, from its foreign origin, as the
badge of subjugation. The few Latin prelates and priests and monks were
encamped amid a hostile population to whom they were strangers in
language and manners, and the dissoluteness of their lives gave them no
opportunity of acquiring a moral influence that might disarm national
and race antipathies. Under such circumstances there was nothing to
hinder the spread of Catharism, and when the devastating wars of the
Hungarians came to be dignified as crusades for the extermination of
heresy, heresy might well claim to be identified with patriotism. From
the Danube to Macedonia, and from the Adriatic to the Euxine, the
Catharan Church was well organized, divided into dioceses with their
bishops, and actively engaged in mission work. Its most flourishing
province was Bosnia, where, at the end of the twelfth century, it
counted some ten thousand devoted partisans. Culin, the Ban who held it
under the suzerainty of Hungary, was a Catharan, and so were his wife
and the rest of his family. Even Catholic prelates were suspected, not
without cause, of leaning secretly to the heretic belief.[324]

The earliest interference with heresy occurs at the end of the twelfth
century, when the Archbishop of Spalatro, doubtless under impulsion from
Innocent, drove out a number of Cathari from Trieste and Spalatro. They
found ready refuge in Bosnia, where Culin welcomed them. Vulcan, King of
Dalmatia, who had designs upon Bosnia, in 1199 represented to Innocent
the deplorable prevalence of heresy there, and suggested that Emeric,
King of Hungary, should be urged to expel the heretics. Innocent
thereupon wrote to Emeric, sending him the severe papal decretal against
the Patarins of Viterbo as a guide for his action, and ordering him to
cleanse his territories of heresy and to confiscate all heretical
property. Culin seems to have taken the initiative by attacking Hungary,
but at the same time he tried to make his peace with Rome by asserting
that the alleged heretics were good Catholics. He sent some of them,
with two of his prelates, to Innocent for examination, and asked for
legates to investigate the matter on the spot. In 1202 the pope
accordingly ordered his chaplain, Giovanni da Casemario, and the
Archbishop of Spalatro, to proceed to Bosnia, where, if they found any
heretics, including the Ban himself, they were to be prosecuted
according to the rigor of the canons. Giovanni successfully accomplished
this mission in 1203. He reported to Innocent a pledge given by the
Cathari to adopt the Latin faith, while, to insure the maintenance of
religion, he recommended the erection of three or four additional
bishoprics in the territory of the Ban, which were ten days’ journey in
extent and which yet had but one see, of which the incumbent was dead.
At the same time King Emeric wrote that Giovanni had brought to him the
leaders of the heretics, and he had found them converted to orthodoxy.
Culin’s son had likewise presented himself, and had entered into bonds
of one thousand marks, to be forfeited in case he should hereafter
protect heretics within his dominions. The triumph of the Church seemed
assured, especially when, in the same year, Calo Johannes, the Emperor
of the Bulgarians, applied to Innocent to have cardinals sent to crown
him, and professed himself in all things obedient to the Holy See.[325]

All such hopes proved fallacious. With the development of the
Albigensian troubles the attention of Innocent was directed from the
Slavs. The conversions made under pressure were but temporary. The
metropolitan of the province, Arringer, Archbishop of Ragusa, filled the
vacant see of Bosnia with a Catharan, and, dying himself soon after, his
episcopal city became a nest of heretics. The few Catholic priests
scattered through the region abandoned their posts, and Catholicism grew
virtually almost extinct. In 1221 it is said that in the whole of Bosnia
there was not a single orthodox preacher to be heard. Equally
disheartening was the course of affairs among the Bulgarians. After Calo
Johannes had been crowned by a legate from Rome, his quarrels with the
Latin Emperors of Constantinople led to a breach, and in the wide
territories under his dominion the Cathari had full liberty of

At length the papal attention was again directed to this deplorable
state of affairs. In 1221 Honorius III. sent his chaplain, Master
Aconcio, as legate to Hungary, with orders to arouse the king and the
prelates to a sense of their obligation to exterminate the heretics who
were thus openly defiant. On his way the legate paused at Ragusa to
superintend the election of an orthodox archbishop, after which he
ordered all Dalmatia and Croatia to join in a crusade, but no one
followed him, and he went alone to Bosnia, where he died the same year.
Better results were promised by the ambition of Ugolin, Archbishop of
Kalocsa, who desired to extend his province; he proposed to Andreas II.
of Hungary that he would lead a crusade at his own cost, and king and
pope promised him all the territories which he should clear of heretics,
but Ugolin overrated his powers, and adopted the expedient of
subsidizing with two hundred silver marks the ruler of Syrmia, Prince
John, son of Margaret, widow of the Emperor Isaac Angelus. John took the
money without performing his promise, though reminded of it by Honorius
in 1227. Relieved from apprehension, the Bosnians deposed their Ban
Stephen and replaced him with a Catharan, Ninoslav, one of the most
notable personages in Bosnian history, who maintained himself from 1232
to 1250.[327]

The scale at length seemed to turn with the advent on the scene of the
Mendicant Orders, full of the irrepressible enthusiasm, the disregard of
toil and hardship, and the thirst for martyrdom of which we have already
seen so many examples. Behind them now, moreover, was Gregory IX., the
implacable and indefatigable persecutor of heresy, who urged them
forward unceasingly. The Dominicans were first upon the ground. As early
as 1221 the Order formed establishments in Hungary, developing its
proselyting energy from that centre, and thus taking the heretics in
flank. The Dominican legend relates that the Inquisition was founded in
Hungary by Friar Jackzo (St. Hyacinth), an early member of the Order,
who died in 1257, and that it could soon boast of two martyred
inquisitors, Friar Nicholas, who was flayed alive, and Friar John, who
was lapidated by the heretics. In 1233 we hear of the massacre of ninety
Dominican missionaries among the Cumans, and it was perhaps somewhat
earlier than this that thirty-two were drowned by the Bosnian heretics,
whom they were seeking to convert; but Dominican ardor was only inflamed
by such incidents. Preparations were made for systematic work. In 1232
Gregory ordered his legate in Hungary, Giacopo, Bishop of Palestrina, to
convert the Bosnians. King Andreas gave the Banate to his son Coloman,
Duke of Croatia and Dalmatia, and ordered him to assist. Results soon
followed. The Catholic Bishop of Bosnia was himself infected with
heresy, and excused himself on the ground that he had ignorantly
supposed the Cathari to be orthodox. The Archbishop of Ragusa was
cognizant of this, and had paid no attention to it, so Giacopo
transferred Bosnia to Kalocsa--a transfer, however, which was for the
present inoperative. More important was the conversion of Ninoslav, who
abandoned the religion of his fathers in order to avert the attacks of
Coloman, which were rapidly dismembering his territories. He was
effusively welcomed by Gregory; he gave money to the Dominicans for the
building of a cathedral; many of his magnates followed his example, and
his kinsman, Uban Prijesda, handed his son to the Dominicans as a
hostage for the sincerity of his conversion. Gregory was overjoyed at
this apparent success. In 1233 he ordered the boy restored to his
father; he took Bosnia under the special protection of the Holy See, and
ordered Coloman to defend Ninoslav from the attacks of disaffected
heretics; he deposed the heretic bishop, and instructed his legate to
divide the territory into two or three sees, appointing proper
incumbents. The latter measure was not carried out, however, and a
German Dominican, John of Wildeshausen, was consecrated Bishop of all

The Legate Giacopo returned to Hungary satisfied that the land was
converted, but success proved fleeting. Either Ninoslav’s conversion was
feigned or he was unable to control his heretic subjects, for in the
next year, 1234, we find Gregory complaining that heresy was increasing
and rendering Bosnia a desert of the faith, a nest of dragons and a home
of ostriches. In conjunction with Andreas he ordered a crusade, and
Coloman was instructed to attack the heretics. The Carthusian Prior of
St. Bartholomew was sent thither to preach it with Holy Land
indulgences, and by the end of 1234 Coloman laid Bosnia waste with fire
and sword. Ninoslav threw himself heart and soul with the Cathari, and
the struggle was bloody and prolonged. The Legate Giacopo induced Bela
IV. to take an oath to extirpate all heretics from every land under his
jurisdiction, and the Franciscans hastened to take a hand in the good
work. They commenced with the city of Zara, but the Archbishop of Zara,
instead of seconding their labors, impeded them, which earned for him
the emphatic rebuke of Gregory. Indeed, from the account which Yvo of
Narbonne gives about this time of the Cathari of the maritime districts,
they could not have been much disturbed by these proceedings.[329]

In 1235 the crusaders were unlucky. Bishop John lost all hope of
recovering his see and asked Gregory to relieve him of it, as the labors
of war were too severe for him; but Gregory reproved his
faintheartedness, telling him that if he disliked war the love of God
should urge him on.[330] In 1236 the aspect of affairs improved,
probably because Bela IV. had replaced Andreas on the throne of Hungary,
and because the crusaders were energetically aided by Sebislav, Duke of
Usora, the son of the former Ban Stephen, who hoped to recover the
succession. He was rewarded by Gregory calling him a lily among thorns
and the sole representative of orthodoxy among the Bosnian chiefs, who
were all heretics. At last, in 1237, Coloman triumphed, but heresy was
not eradicated, in spite of his efforts through the following years. In
fulfilment of his request, Gregory ordered the consecration of the
Dominican Ponsa as Bishop of Bosnia, and soon afterwards appointed Ponsa
as legate for three years in order that he might exterminate the remnant
of heresy. It must have been a tolerably large remnant, for in the same
breath he promised the protection of the Holy See to all who would take
the cross to extirpate it. In 1239 the Provincial Prior of Hungary was
ordered to send to the heretic districts a number of friars, powerful in
speech and action, to consummate the work. Ponsa, though bishop and
legate, had no revenues and no resources, so Gregory ordered paid over
to him the moneys collected from crusaders in redemption of vows, and
the sum which Ninoslav, during his interval of orthodoxy, had given to
found a cathedral. By the end of 1239 heresy seemed to be exterminated,
but scarce had Coloman and his crusaders left the land when his work was
undone and heresy was as vigorous as ever. In 1240 Ninoslav appears
again as Ban, visiting Ragusa with a splendid retinue to renew the old
treaty of trade and alliance. King Bela’s energies, in fact, were just
then turned in another direction, for Assan, the Bulgarian prince, had
declared in favor of the Greeks; his people therefore were denounced as
heretics and schismatics, and Bela was stimulated to undertake a crusade
against him, for which, as usual, Holy Land indulgences were promised.
It was hard to make head at once against so many enemies of the faith,
and in the confusion the Cathari of Bosnia had a respite. Still more
important for them as a preventive of persecution was the Tartar
invasion which, in 1241, reduced Hungary to a desert. In the bloody day
of Flusse Sajo the Hungarian army was destroyed, Bela barely escaped
with his life, and Coloman was slain. The respite was but temporary,
however, for in 1244 Bela again overran Bosnia. Ninoslav made his peace
and the heretics were persecuted, until 1246, when Hungary was involved
in war with Austria, and promptly they rose again with Ninoslav at their

All these endeavors to diffuse the blessings of Christianity had not
been made without bloodshed. We have few details of these obscure
struggles in a land little removed from barbarism, but there is one
document extant which shows that the Albigensian crusades, with all
their horrors, had been repeated to no purpose. In 1247 Innocent IV., in
making over the see of Bosnia to the Archbishop of Kalocsa, alludes to
the labors performed by him and his predecessors in the effort to redeem
it from heresy. They had meritoriously devastated the greater part of
the land; they had carried away into captivity many thousands of
heretics, with great effusion of blood, and no little slaughter of their
own men and waste of their substance. In spite of these sacrifices, as
the churches and castles which they had built were not strong enough to
resist siege, the land could not be retained in the faith; it had wholly
relapsed into heresy, and there was no hope of its voluntary redemption.
The church of Kalocsa had been thoroughly exhausted, and it was now
rewarded by placing the recalcitrant region under its jurisdiction, in
the expectation that some future crusade might be more fortunate.
Innocent IV. had, a few months earlier, ordered Bela to undertake a
decisive struggle with the Cathari, but Ninoslav appealed to him,
protesting that he had been since his conversion a faithful son of the
Church, and had only accepted the aid of the heretics because it was
necessary to preserve the independence of the Banate. Moved by this,
Innocent instructed the Archbishop of Kalocsa to abstain from further
persecution. He ordered an investigation into the faith and actions of
Ninoslav, and gave permission to use the Glagolitic writing and the
Slavic tongue in the celebration of Catholic service, recognizing that
this would remove an obstacle to the propagation of the faith.
Ninoslav’s last years were peaceful, but after his death, about 1250,
there were civil wars stimulated by the antagonism between Catharan and
Catholic. He was succeeded by Prijesda, who had remained Catholic since
his conversion in 1233. Under pretence of supporting Prijesda, Bela
intervened, and by 1254 he had again reduced Bosnia to subjection,
leading, doubtless, to active persecution of heresy, although the
transfer of the see of Bosnia to Kalocsa was not carried into

It was about this time that Rainerio Saccone gives us his computation of
the Perfects in many of the Catharan churches. In Constantinople there
were two churches, a Latin and a Greek, the former comprising fifty
Perfects. The latter, together with those of Bulgaria, Roumania,
Slavonia, and Dalmatia, he estimates at about five hundred. This would
indicate a very large number of believers, and shows how unfruitful had
been the labors and the wars which had continued for more than a
generation. In fact, although Bela’s long reign lasted until 1270, he
failed utterly in his efforts to extirpate heresy. On the contrary, the
Cathari grew ever stronger and the Church sank lower and lower. Even
the Bosnian bishops dared no longer to remain in their see, but resided
in Djakovar. So little reverence was there felt in those regions for the
Holy See that so near as Trieste, when, in 1264, two Dominicans
commissioned to preach the crusade against the Turks endeavored to
perform their duty, the dean and canons hustled them violently out of
the church, and would not even allow them to address the crowd in the
public square, while the archdeacon publicly declared that any one who
listened to them was excommunicate.[333]

Things grew worse with the accession, in 1272, of Bela’s grandson,
Ladislas IV., known as the Cuman, from his mother Elizabeth, a member of
that pagan tribe. Ladislas lived with the Cumans and shared their
religion until his contempt for the Holy See manifested itself in the
most offensive manner. The papal legate, Filippo, Bishop of Fermo, had
called a council to meet at Buda, when Ladislas ordered the magistrates
of the city not to permit the entrance of any prelates, or the supplying
of any food to the legate, who was thus forced to depart ignominiously.
This called down upon him the anger of Rodolph of Hapsburg and of
Charles of Anjou, and he was fain, in 1280, to make reparation, not only
by a humble apology and a grant of one hundred marks per annum for the
founding of a hospital, but by adopting and publishing as the law of the
land all the papal statutes against heresy, and swearing to enforce them
vigorously, while his mother Elizabeth did the same as Duchess of
Bosnia. Something was gained by this, and still more, when, in 1282,
Ladislas appointed as ruler of Bosnia his brother-in-law, Stephen
Dragutin, the exiled King of Servia. The latter, although a Greek,
persecuted the Cathari; and when, about 1290, he was converted to
Catholicism, his zeal increased, He sent to Rome Marino, Bishop of
Antivari, to report the predominance of heresy and to ask for aid.
Nicholas IV. promptly responded by commissioning a legate to Andreas
III., the new King of Hungary, to preach a crusade, and the Emperor
Rodolph was ordered to assist, but the effort was bootless. Equally vain
was his command to the Franciscan Minister of Slavonia to select two
friars acquainted with the language, and send them to Bosnia to
extirpate heresy. The request at the same time made to Stephen to
support them with the secular arm shows that the missionaries were in
fact inquisitors. Unluckily, Nicholas in his zeal also employed
Dominicans in the business. Inspired by the traditional hatred between
the Orders, the inquisitors, or missionaries, employed all their
energies in quarrelling with each other, and became objects of ridicule
instead of terror to the heretics.[334]

In 1298 Boniface VIII. undertook finally to organize the Inquisition in
the Franciscan province of Slavonia, which comprised all the territory
south of Hungary, from the Danube to Macedonia. The provincial minister
was ordered to appoint two friars as inquisitors for this immense
region, and was intrusted as usual with the power of removing and
replacing them. This slender organization he endeavored to supplement by
ordering the Archbishop of Kalocsa to preach a crusade, but there was no
response, and the proposed Inquisition effected nothing. When Stephen
Dragutin died, in 1314, Bosnia was conquered by Mladen Subić, son of the
Ban of Croatia, under whom it was virtually independent of Hungary.
Mladen made some show of persecuting heresy--at least when he had a
request to make at Avignon--but as the vast majority of his subjects
were Cathari, whose support was absolutely necessary to him, it is safe
to say that he made no serious effort. In 1319 John XXII. describes the
condition of Bosnia as deplorable. There were no Catholic ecclesiastics,
no reverence for the sacraments; communion was not administered, and in
many places the rite of baptism was not even known or understood. When
such a pontiff as John felt obliged to appeal to Mladen himself to put
an end to this reproach, it shows that he had no means of effective
coercion at hand.[335]

Mladen was overthrown by Stephen Kostromanić, and when he fled to
Hungary, Charles Robert cast him in prison, leaving undisturbed
possession to Stephen, who styled himself Ban by the grace of God.
Stephen, in 1322, seems to have abandoned Catholicism, joining either
the Greeks or the Cathari, but in spite of this affairs commenced to
look more favorable. Hungary began to emerge from the disorders and
disasters which had so long crippled it, and King Charles Robert was
inclined to listen to exhortations as to his duty towards the Bosnian
heretics. In 1323, therefore, John XXII. made another attempt, sending
Frà Fabiano thither and ordering Charles Robert and Stephen to give him
effective support. The latter was obdurate, though the former seems to
have manifested some zeal, if one may believe the praises bestowed on
him in 1327 by John. Fabiano was indefatigable, but his duty proved no
easy one. At the very outset he met with unexpected resistance in a city
so near at hand as Trieste. When he endeavored there to enforce the
decrees against heresy, and to arouse the people to a sense of their
duty, the bells were rung, a mob was assembled, he was dragged from the
pulpit and beaten, the leaders in the disturbance being two canons of
the Cathedral, Michele da Padua, and Raimondo da Cremona, who were
promptly ordered by the pope to be prosecuted as suspects of heresy.
Hardly had he settled this question when he was involved in a
controversy with the rival Dominicans, whom he found to be poaching on
his preserves. A zealous Dominican, Matteo of Agram, by suppressing the
fact that Slavonia was Franciscan territory, had obtained from John
letters authorizing the Dominican provincial to appoint inquisitors,
commissioned to preach a crusade with Holy Land indulgences, and these
inquisitors had been urgently recommended by the pope to the King of
Hungary and other potentates. It was impossible that the Orders could
co-operate in harmony, and Fabiano made haste to represent to John the
trap into which he had been led. The pope was now at the height of his
controversy with the greater part of the Franciscans over the question
of poverty, and it was impolitic to give just grounds of complaint to
those who remained faithful; he therefore promptly recalled the letters
given to the Dominicans, and scolded them roundly for deceiving him.
Even yet it seemed impossible for Fabiano to penetrate beyond the
borders of his district, or to work without impediment, for in 1329 he
was occupied with prosecuting for heresy the Abbot of SS. Cosmas and
Damiani of Zara and one of his monks, when John, the Archbishop of Zara,
intervened forcibly and stopped the proceedings. The difficulties thrown
in Fabiano’s way must have been great, for he felt compelled to visit
Avignon for their removal, but his usual ill-luck accompanied him. The
contest between the papacy on the one side, and the Visconti and Louis
of Bavaria on the other, rendered parts of Lombardy unsafe for
papalists, and a son of Belial named Franceschino da Pavia had no
scruple in laying hands on the inquisitor and despoiling him of his
horses, books, and papers. During all this time the Inquisition must
have been at a standstill, but at last Fabiano overcame all obstacles.
In 1330 he returned to the scene of action; Charles Robert and Stephen
lent him their assistance, and the work of suppressing the Cathari
commenced under favorable auspices, and by the methods which we have
seen so successful elsewhere. The condition of the Bosnian Church may be
guessed from the fear felt by John XXII. that the bishops would be
heretics, leading him, in 1331, to reserve their appointment to the Holy
See. Yet on the death of Bishop Peter, in 1334, the chapter elected a
successor, and Charles Robert endeavored to force a layman on the
Church, causing a disgraceful quarrel which was not settled until
Benedict XII., in 1336, pronounced in favor of the candidate of the

The spiritual condition of the Slavs at this period is indicated by an
occurrence in 1331 nearer home. The Venetian inquisitor, Frà Francesco
Chioggia, in visiting his district, found in the province of Aquileia
innumerable Slavs who worshipped a tree and fountain. Apparently they
were impervious to his exhortations, and he had no means at the moment
to enforce obedience. He was obliged to preach against them, in Friuli,
a crusade with Holy Land indulgences. He thus raised an armed force with
which he cut down the tree and choked up the fountain; unfortunately, we
have no record of the fate of the nature-worshippers.[337]

Benedict XII. was as earnest as his predecessor. Yet even Dalmatia was
still full of heresy, for in 1335 be felt obliged to write to the
Archbishop of Zara and the Bishops of Trau and Zegna, ordering them to
use every means for the extermination of heretics, and to give efficient
support to the inquisitors. The Dalmatian prelates, it is true,
prevailed upon the magistrates of Spalatro and Trau to enact laws
against heresy, but these were not enforced. A century had passed since
the Inquisition was founded, and yet the duties of persecution had not
even then been learned on the shores of the Adriatic. The work seemed
further than ever from accomplishment. The Cathari continued to multiply
under the avowed protection of Stephen and his magnates. A gleam of
light appeared, however, when, in 1337, the Croatian Count Nelipić, a
bitter enemy of Stephen, offered his services to Benedict, who joyfully
accepted them, and summoned all the Croatian barons to range themselves
under his banner in aid of the pious labors of Fabiano and his
colleagues. War ensued between Bosnia and Croatia, of the details of
which we know little, except that it brought no advantage to the faith,
until it threatened to spread.[338]

Stephen’s position, in fact, was becoming precarious. To the east was
Stephen Dusan the Great, who styled himself Emperor of Servia, Greece,
and Bulgaria, and who had shown himself unfriendly since the union of
Herzegovina with Bosnia. To the north was Charles Robert, who was
preparing to take part in the war. It is true that the Venetians,
desirous to keep Hungary away from their Adriatic possessions, were
ready to form an alliance with Stephen, but the odds against him were
too great. He probably intimated a readiness to submit, for when, in
1339, Benedict sent the Franciscan General Gherardo as legate to
Hungary, Charles Robert convoyed him to the Bosnian frontier, where
Stephen received him with all honor, and said that he was not averse to
extirpating the Cathari, but feared that in case of persecution they
would call in Stephen Dusan. If liberally supported by the pope and King
of Hungary he would run the risk. In 1340 Benedict promised him the help
of all Catholics, and he allowed himself to be converted, an example
followed by many of the magnates. It was quite time, for Catholicism had
virtually disappeared from Bosnia, where the churches were mostly
abandoned and torn down. Gherardo hastened to follow up his advantage by
sending missionaries and inquisitors into Bosnia. That there was no
place there, however, for the methods of the Inquisition, and that
persuasion, not force, was required, is seen by the legends which
recount how one of these inquisitors, Fray Juan de Aragon, made
numerous converts, after a long and bitter disputation in an heretical
assembly, by standing unhurt on a blazing pyre; and how one of his
disciples, John, repeated the experience, remaining in the flames while
one might chant the Miserere. These miracles, we are told, were very
effective, and the stories show that nothing else could have been so.
Stephen remained true to his promises, and the Catholic Church commenced
to revive. A bull of Clement VI., in 1344, recites that, deceived by the
falsehoods of the Franciscan General Gherardo, he had ordered the
Bosnian tithes paid over to the friars on the pretext of rebuilding the
churches, but on the representation of Laurence, Bishop of Bosnia, that
they belonged to him and that he had no other source of support, he is
in future to receive them. At the instance of Clement, in 1345, Stephen
consented to allow the return of Valentine, Bishop of Makarska, who for
twenty years had been an exile from his see, and the next year a third
bishopric, that of Duvno, was erected. The Catharan magnates were
restless, however, and when Dusan the Great, in 1350, invaded Bosnia
many of them joined him, but their prospects became worse when peace
followed in 1351, and when, in 1353, shortly before his death, Stephen
married his only child to Louis of Hungary, a zealous Catholic who had
succeeded his father, Charles Robert, in 1342.[339]

Stephen Kostromanić was succeeded by his young nephew, Stephen Tvrtko,
under the regency of his mother, Helena. Under such circumstances,
dissatisfied and insubordinate Catharan magnates had ample opportunity
to produce confusion. Of this full advantage was taken by Louis of
Hungary as soon as the death of Dusan the Great, in 1355, relieved him
from that formidable antagonist. The Dominicans hastened, in 1356, to
obtain from Innocent VI. a confirmation of the letters of John XXII., of
1327, authorizing them to preach a crusade against the heretics with
Holy Land indulgences. Louis seized Herzegovina as a dower for his wife
Elisabeth, reduced Stephen Tvrtko to the position of a vassal, and
forced him to swear to extirpate the Cathari. Not content with this he
proceeded to stir up rebellion among the magnates, producing great
confusion, during which the Cathari regained their position. Then, in
1360, Innocent VI. conferred on Peter, Bishop of Bosnia, full powers as
papal inquisitor, and also ordered a new crusade, which served as a
pretext to Louis for a fresh invasion. Nothing was accomplished by this;
but in 1365 the Cathari, irritated at Tvrtko’s efforts to suppress them,
drove him and his mother from Bosnia. Louis furnished him with troops,
and asked Urban V. to send two thousand Franciscans to convert the
heretics. After a desperate struggle Tvrtko regained the throne. His
brother, Stephen Vuk, who had aided the rebels, fled to Ragusa and
embraced Catholicism, after which, in 1368, he appealed for aid to Urban
V., representing that his heretic brother had disinherited him on
account of his persecuting heretics. Urban accordingly urged Louis to
protect the orthodox Vuk, and to force Tvrtko to abandon his errors, but
nothing came of it. Whether Tvrtko was Catharan or Catholic does not
clearly appear. Probably he was indifferent to all but his personal
interests, and was ready to follow whatever policy promised to serve his
ambition, and his success shows that he must have had the support of his
subjects, who were nearly all Cathari. Although, in 1368, Urban V.
congratulated Louis of Hungary on the success of his arms, aided by the
friars, in bringing into the fold many thousand heretics and
schismatics, Louis himself, in 1372, reported that Christianity was
established in but few places; in some the two faiths were commingled,
but for the most part all the inhabitants were Cathari. It was in vain
that Gregory XI. endeavored to found Franciscan houses as missionary
centres; the Bosnians would not be weaned from their creed. Had Tvrtko
followed a policy of persecution he could not have accomplished the
conquests which, for a brief period, shed lustre on the Bosnian name. He
extended his sway over a large part of Servia and over Croatia and
Dalmatia, and when, in 1376, he assumed the title of king, there was no
one to dispute it. After his death, in 1391, the magnates asserted
virtual independence under a succession of royal puppets--Stephen
Dabisa, his young son, under the regency of his widow, Helena, and then
Stephen Ostoja. The most powerful man in Bosnia was the Vojvode Hrvoje
Vukcić, who ruled the north, and next to him was his kinsman Sandalj
Hranić who dominated the south. Both of these men were Cathari, and so
was the king, Stephen, Ostoja, and all his family. Catholicism almost
disappeared, and Catharism was the religion of the State. It was
organized under a Djed (grandfather), or chief, with twelve Ucitelji, or
teachers, of whom the first was the Gost, or visitor, the deputy and
successor of the Djed, and the second was known as the Starac, or

These were state officials, and we see them occasionally acting in an
official capacity. Thus, when, in 1404, the Vojvode Paul Klesić, who had
been exiled, was recalled, it was the Djed Radomjer who sent Catharan
envoys to Ragusa to bring him home, and who wrote to the Doge of Ragusa
on the subject. Klesić was a Catharan, and his residence in Ragusa, as
well as that of many similar Catharan exiles, shows that persecution had
grown obsolete even on the coast of the Adriatic. In spite of his
Catharism, Hrvoje Vukcić was made by Ladislas of Naples, Duke of
Spalatro and lord of some of the Dalmatian islands, thus making
Catharism dominant along the shore. In the troubles which ended in the
deposition of Stephen Ostoja and the election of Stephen Tvrtko II. a
“Congregation of the Bosnian Lords” was held in 1404, in which, among
those present, are enumerated the Djed and several of his Ucitelji, but
no mention is made of any Catholic bishop. Toleration seemed to have
established itself. The Great Schism gave the Holy See abundant
preoccupation, and missionary efforts are no longer heard of, until the
Emperor Sigismund, as King of Hungary, bethought himself of
re-establishing his claim over Bosnia. Two armies sent in 1405 were
unsuccessful, but in 1407 Gregory XII. aided him with a bull summoning
Christendom to a crusade against the Turks, the apostate Allans, and
the Manichæans. Under these auspices, in 1408, he led a force of sixty
thousand Hungarians and Poles into Bosnia, defeated and captured Tvrtko
II., and recovered Croatia and Dalmatia, but the Bosnians were
obstinate, and replaced Ostoja on the throne. Another expedition, in
1410-1411, drove Ostoja to the south, and Sigismund, for a while,
retained possession of Bosnia, but when, in 1415, he released Tvrtko II.
and sent him to Bosnia as king, a civil war immediately ensued. Tvrtko
at first was successful, supported with a large Hungarian army, but
Ostoja called the Turks to his assistance, and in a decisive battle the
Hungarians were defeated. The Turks penetrated to Cillei in the
Steyermark, devastating and plundering everywhere, and on their return
carried with them thousands of Christian captives.[341]

This shows the new factor which had injected itself into the already
tangled problem. In 1389 the fatal day of the Amselfeld had thrown open
the whole Balkan peninsula to the Turks, who since then had been
steadily winning their way. In 1392 we hear of their first incursion in
southern Bosnia, after which they had constantly taken a greater part in
the affairs of the Banate. The condition of the country was that of
savage and perpetual civil war. There was no royal power capable of
enforcing order, and the magnates were engaged in tearing each other to
pieces. Devoid of all sentiment of nationality, no one had any scruple
in calling in the aid of the infidel, in paying allegiance to him, or in
subsidizing him to prevent his joining the opposite party. It was the
same with Catholic, Catharan, and Greek. No sense of the
ever-approaching danger served to make them abandon their internecine
quarrels, and if a temporary petty advantage was to be gained there was
no hesitation in aiding the Turk to a farther advance. The only wonder
is that the progress of the Moslem conquest was so slow; there can be
little doubt that it could have been arrested by united effort, and it
may be questioned whether the rule of Islam was not, after all, an
improvement on the state of virtual anarchy which it replaced. To the
peasantry it offered itself rather as a deliverance. When, in 1461,
Stephen Tomasević ascended the throne, in his appeal for aid to Pius II.
he describes the Turks as treating the peasants kindly, promising them
freedom, and thus winning them over, and he adds that the magnates
cannot defend their castles when thus abandoned by the peasants.[342]

As regards the Cathari, the Turkish advance produced two contrary
effects. On the one hand there was the danger that persecution would
drive them to seek protection from the enemy. On the other hand there
was absolute need of assistance from Christendom, which could only be
obtained by submission to Rome, and obedience to her demands for their
extermination. Both of these influences worked to the destruction of
Bosnia, for when toleration was practised aid was withheld, and when at
last persecution was established as a policy the Cathari welcomed the
invader, and contributed to the subjugation of the kingdom.

In 1420 Stephen Tvrtko II. reappeared upon the scene, and the next year
he was acknowledged. There followed a breathing-space, for the Turkish
general Isaac was defeated and killed during an incursion into Hungary,
and Mahomet I., involved in strife with Mustapha, had no leisure to
repair the disaster. This did not last long, however, for in 1424 the
sons of Ostoja endeavored, with Turkish help, to win back their father’s
throne, the only result of which was a war ending with the surrender of
a portion of Bosnian territory to Murad II. Again, in 1433, when Tvrtko
was fighting with the Servian despot, George Branković, he was suddenly
called to the south to withstand a Turkish inroad invited by Radivoj,
one of the sons of Ostoja, and this was immediately followed by the
rising of Sandalj Hranić, the powerful magnate of Herzegovina, who drove
Tvrtko to seek refuge with Sigismund. His absence lasted three years,
during which the wildest confusion reigned in Bosnia, the Turks being
constantly called in to participate with one side or the other.[343]

Meanwhile the rise of the Observantine Franciscans was restoring to the
Church some of its old missionary fervor, and furnishing it with the
necessary self-devoted agents. In spite of the preoccupations arising
from the contest between Eugenius IV. and the Council of Basle, an
effort was made to win back Bosnia to the faith. If anything could
accomplish this there might be hope from the fierce and inexhaustible
enthusiasm of the Observantine Friar, the Blessed Giacomo della Marca,
who had already given evidence of ruthless efficiency as inquisitor of
the Italian Fraticelli. In 1432 he was accordingly sent with full powers
to reform the Franciscan Order in Slavonia, and to turn its whole
energies to missionary work. Under this impulsion we are told that
conversions were numerous from Bosnia to Wallachia, and Eugenius IV.
stimulated rivalry by also setting the Dominicans at work. In 1434
Giacomo was driven out, but was sent back the next year, and
distinguished himself by redoubled ardor and success, attributed,
according to his biographers, partly to his miraculous powers. Alarmed
at his progress, the wicked queen sent four assassins to despatch him,
when he extended his arms and bade them do whatever God would permit,
whereupon they became rigid and suffered agonies until he prayed for
their release. Indignant at this attempt, he bearded the king and queen
in full court, and his boldness gained him so many converts that the
king became alarmed for his throne. A sorcerer was accordingly employed
to slay the intrepid inquisitor, but Giacomo promptly rendered the man
speechless for life. Some heretics then sawed through the supports of a
platform where he was preaching. It fell, but he escaped, and to this
day, says the legend, the posterity of the perpetrators have all been
born halt and lame. These proofs of divine favor led to numerous
conversions, but he became involved in quarrels with the Catholic
clergy, caused, we are told, by envy, and they excommunicated him, so
that he was obliged to seek absolution from the pope. His triumphant
career was cut short by a summons from the Emperor Sigismund to assist
in the pacification of the Hussite troubles, and his field of action was
transferred to regions farther north, where we shall meet him hereafter.
Even there, however, he did not forget his Bosnian enemies, for at
Stuhlweissenburg, on meeting the legates of the Council of Basle, he at
once asked them to exert their influence on Sigismund. Though King
Stephen, he said, was an unbaptized heretic who would not allow his
subjects to be baptized, a command from the emperor would be sufficient
to compel him to yield. Giacomo, moreover, had left behind him worthy
disciples from among the natives. One of these, the Blessed Angelo of
Verbosa, shone also by miraculous gifts. On one occasion the heretics
gave him poison to drink, but on making the sign of the cross above the
cup it became innocuous, which brought him many converts.[344]

This legendary extravagance has some foundation in fact. A bull of
Eugenius IV., in 1437, speaks of sixteen Franciscan churches and
monasteries destroyed by the Turks within two years, and another grants
to the friars who remained certain privileges in hearing confessions,
which show that they had been active, and had been winning their way.
Giacomo’s influence at Stuhlweissenburg is, moreover, indicated by his
inducing Sigismund to compel Stephen Tvrtko to undergo baptism, and to
issue from that place, in January, 1436, an edict taking the Franciscans
under his protection, and permitting them to spread Catholicism
throughout Bosnia. In reward for this Sigismund aided his return to his
kingdom, which he found possessed partly by Servia, partly by the Turks,
and wholly devastated. For what he could obtain of this ruined land he
had to render allegiance to Murad II., and to pay him a yearly tribute
of twenty-five thousand ducats. Wretched as was this simulacrum of
royalty, it was incompatible with the favor which he had been compelled
to show to Catholicism. Southern Bosnia by this time was independent
under Stephen Vukcić, nephew and successor of Sandalj; as a Catharan, he
was regarded throughout Bosnia as the defender of the national faith,
and, in alliance with Murad II., he overthrew Stephen Tvrtko II.[345]

In 1444 another king was elected in the person of Stephen Thomas
Ostojić, a younger natural son of Ostoja, who had carefully kept himself
in obscurity with a low-born Catharan wife, to whom he had been married
with the Catharan ceremony--a fact which subsequently served as an
excuse for a divorce. Almost the first question which the new king had
to decide was whether he would adhere to his religion or cast his
fortunes with Catholicism. The Church had not relaxed its efforts to win
over the fragments remaining of Bosnia, in spite of the fact that it
was only aiding the designs of the Turks by adding to confusion and
discord. In 1437 the vacancy left by Giacomo della Marca had been filled
by the appointment of Frà Niccolò of Trau, and since 1439 Tommaso,
Bishop of Lesina, had been in Bosnia as papal legate, busily engaged in
furthering the interests of Catholicism. He had failed in an effort to
convert Stephen Vukcić, but the advent of a new king was an incentive to
further exertions. Eugenius promptly appointed the Observantine Vicar of
Bosnia, Fabiano of Bacs, and his successors perpetual inquisitors over
the Slavonic lands, and instructed the Bishop of Lesina to promise
Stephen Thomas the recognition of his election if he would embrace the
true faith. The position was a difficult one. All his magnates, with the
exception of Peter Vojsalić, were Catharans, and to offend them would be
to invite Turkish intervention, while, so long as he held aloof from
Christendom, he could expect no aid from the West. Doubtless promises
that could not be fulfilled were made to him in plenty, for he concluded
to cast his fortunes with Catholicism, but he abstained from receiving
the crown offered to him by Eugenius for fear of offending his Catharan
subjects. He permitted the erection of two new bishoprics, he was duly
baptized, and he labored long and earnestly to induce his subjects to
follow his example. Nearly all his magnates did so, but Stephen Vukcić
was a conspicuous exception, and the common people were not so easily
moved. Even the king himself did not dare to omit the customary
“adoration” of the Perfects, for which he was duly excommunicated by
the inquisitor, but the pope recognized the difficulty of his position,
and wisely gave him a dispensation for associating with heretics.[346]

Although many Catholic churches were built, the legate reported, on a
visit to Rome, that the land was too full of heresy for other cure than
the sword. The king’s position was too insecure for him to venture on
persecution, which would infallibly have led to a revolt. In a grant, in
1446, of certain towns to Count Paul Dragisić and his brothers, who were
zealous Cathari, it is provided that, in case of their committing
treason, the gift is not to be resumed without a previous investigation
“by the Lord Djed and the Bosnian Church and good Bosnians.” The
Franciscans complained of his lukewarmness to Nicholas V., when he
justified himself on the plea of necessity; he longed, he said, for the
time when he could offer to his subjects the alternative of death or
conversion, but as yet the heretics were too numerous and powerful and
his position too precarious. Nicholas calmed the Franciscans, and they
eagerly awaited the good time to come.[347]

The defeat, in 1448, of John Hunyady, in a three days’ battle on the
historic Amselfeld, led, in 1449, to a seven years’ peace between him
and Murad II., in which Bosnia was included. Peace with Servia followed,
and, thus relieved from the fear of foreign aggression, Stephen Thomas
was summoned to perform his promises. Before the papal representatives
he was obliged to give a solemn pledge to John Hunyady that he would
strike heresy with a crushing blow. Nicholas V., who had sent the Bishop
of Lesina back as legate, ordered him to preach a crusade with Holy Land
indulgences, and active efforts were made in the good work. Early in
1451 the Bishop of Lesina sent most encouraging reports of the result.
Many of the nobles had sought conversion; the king in every way helped
the Franciscans, and had founded several houses for them; wherever these
houses existed the heretics melted away like wax before the fire, and if
a sufficient supply of friars could be had heresy would be extirpated.
Not quite so rose-colored was the statement of a Dominican, Frà Giovanni
of Ragusa, that in Bosnia and Servia there were very few monks and
priests, so that the people were wholly untrained in the faith.
Unmindful of the danger of conjoining the two Orders, Nicholas sent him
thither with some of his brethren on missionary work, and at the same
time despatched the Franciscan Eugenio Somma to Albania, Bulgaria, and
Servia in the double capacity of nuncio and inquisitor.[348]

The good Bishop of Lesina had been over-sanguine. In the first pressure
of persecution forty heads of the Catharan Church, with great numbers of
the laity, sought refuge with Stephen Vukcić, who proceeded to attack
the Catholics of Ragusa, while many others fled to Servia and to the
Turks, and appealed to them for help. Those who remained prepared for
resistance, and a bloody religious war broke out, of which George
Branković of Servia took advantage to renew the war suspended in 1449.
This was more than Stephen Thomas could endure; he was forced to abandon
persecution and to call for help. John Hunyady was enraged at his
weakness, and ordered him to make peace with Servia. He appealed to
Nicholas V., who remonstrated with Hunyady, when the latter retorted
that Stephen Thomas was false to his promises, and, in place of
exterminating the heretics, was protecting them, to the scandal of all

On the fall of Constantinople, in May, 1453, Stephen Thomas promptly
sent envoys to Mahomet II. to tender his allegiance. In the
ever-deepening menace of the Turks persecution could hardly be resumed
with activity, but the popes occasionally gave him a portion of the
moneys raised for the crusade, and the Cathari were humiliated and
proscribed as far as could be ventured upon, and constituted a
discontented and dangerous element of the population. In 1459 we find
the king protesting to Pius II. that he persecuted the Cathari roundly,
and asking for more bishops; and one of his latest acts was to send the
Bishop of Nona to the pope with three Catharan magnates--George Kucinić,
Stojsav Tvrtković, and Radovan Viencinić--that they might be converted.
It seems incredible that any one should covet a throne so precarious,
and yet, in 1461, while Stephen Thomas was battling with the Croatian
magnates, he was murdered by his son, Stephen Thomasević, and his
brother Radivoj. The crown which Stephen Thomasević thus won by a
parricide was a crown of thorns. To the north Matthias Corvinus of
Hungary was estranged and unforgiving; to the west was Croatia, with
which he was at war; in the south Stephen Vukcić was his enemy; while on
the east lay Servia, now a Turkish pashalic, from which Mahomet II. only
awaited the fitting moment to reduce Bosnia to a like condition. Thus
surrounded by foes, the internal condition of the land was not
reassuring, for it was full of secret or open Cathari, who longed for
help or revenge, no matter whence it might come.[350]

The new king recognized that his only hope lay in obtaining aid from
Christendom, to earn which he labored energetically to strengthen the
Catholic Church in his dominions, but, in the fatal perverseness of the
time, this only precipitated his downfall. From Pius II. he obtained
only barren instructions to the legate, Lorenzo, Abbot of Spalatro, to
collect money and crusaders. From Matthias Corvinus he purchased an
alliance by a heavy payment, by surrendering some castles, and by
breaking off relations with the Turks and ceasing to pay them tribute.
In all this he estranged still further his heretic subjects and drew
upon his head the vengeance of Mahomet II. Many Cathari, driven from
Bosnia, had found refuge in Moslem territory; others, especially nobles,
forced to pretend conversion, maintained constant relations with the
Turks, kept them advised of all that occurred, and were eager to aid
them, in hopes of revenge. The news of the treaty with Matthias Corvinus
was speedily conveyed to Mahomet, who, to test its truth, sent an envoy
to demand the tribute. King Stephen took him to the treasury, showed him
the money, and refused to deliver it, saying that he needed it for
self-defence, or that it would support him in exile if driven from the
kingdom, and he paid no heed to the envoy’s warning that treasure
withheld in defiance of pledges would bring him no luck.[351]

Defiance such as this left nothing to hope for from the Turk, but
preoccupations in Wallachia kept Mahomet busy during 1462, and he
postponed his revenge till the following year. It shows the blindness of
Rome to the situation and the unflagging persistency of the
determination to secure uniformity of faith, that during this respite
Pius II. sent learned friars to Bosnia with instructions that the best
mode of overcoming heresy was to promote study. The instructions were
excellent, but sadly misplaced. Through the winter and spring of 1463
Mahomet was preparing the final blow by massing one hundred and fifty
thousand men at Adrianople. To throw Stephen Thomasevic off of his
guard, his request for a fifteen years’ truce was granted, and his
envoys, returning with this welcome news, were followed, after an
interval of four days, by the Turkish host. The land was found
defenceless, and no resistance was offered till the invaders reached the
royal castle of Bobovac, a stronghold capable of prolonged defence. Its
commandant, however, was Count Radak, a Catharan who had been forced to
conversion, and on the third day he surrendered on a promise of reward.
When he claimed this, Mahomet, reproaching him with his treason, had him
promptly beheaded, and tradition still points out on the road to Sutiska
the rock Radakovica, where the traitor met his end. The capitulation of
Bobovac cast terror throughout the land. Resistance was no longer
thought of, and the only alternatives were flight or submission. The
king hurried towards the Croatian frontier, with Mahomet Pasha at his
heels, and was compelled at Kljuć to surrender on promise of life and
freedom, but, in spite of this, he was put to death, after being
utilized to order all commandants of cities and castles to surrender
them. Within eight days more than seventy towns fell into the hands of
the Turks, and by the middle of June all Bosnia was in their possession.
Then Mahomet turned southward to overrun the territories of Stephen
Vukcić, but the mountains of Herzegovina were bravely defended by the
Cathari, and by the end of June the Turkish host took its way homeward,
carrying with it one hundred thousand prisoners and thirty thousand
youths to be converted into Janissaries.[352]

Thus abandoned by Christendom, except to hasten the end through
perpetually inflaming religious strife, Bosnia was conquered without a
struggle, while Herzegovina held out for twenty years longer. How easily
the catastrophe might have been averted is seen in the fact that before
the year 1463 was out Matthias Corvinus had reconquered a large portion
of the territory so easily won, which was held until the Hungarian power
was broken on the disastrous field of Mohacs in 1526. In the Turkish
lands the Cathari for the most part embraced Mahometanism, and the sect
which had so stubbornly endured the vicissitudes of more than a thousand
years disappeared in obscurity. The Christians had the resource of
flight, which they embraced, commencing an emigration which continued
until the middle of the eighteenth century. This was rather to escape
oppression than persecution, for the Turks permitted them the exercise
of their religion. When the blessed Angelo of Verbosa, the disciple of
Giacomo della Marca, persuaded his fellow-believers to leave the
country, Mahomet sent for him and menacingly asked him his reasons. “To
worship God elsewhere,” he boldly replied, and so eloquently pleaded
his cause that the Turk ordered the Christians to be unmolested, and
gave Angelo permission to preach. Thenceforth the Franciscans were the
refuge and support of the Christians up to modern times, though they had
many cruelties to endure at the hands of the barbarous conquerors.[353]



In 1209 Henry of Veringen, Bishop of Strassburg, accompanied Otho IV. on
his coronation expedition to Rome. We have seen (p. 192) how some of the
ecclesiastics in the emperor’s train were scandalized by the almost open
toleration of heretics in the papal city; possibly recriminations may
have passed between the German and the Italian prelates, and the former
may have been recommended to look more sharply after the orthodoxy of
their own dioceses. Be this as it may, Bishop Henry is said to have
carried home with him some theologians eager to punish aberrations from
the faith, and a little investigation showed to his horror that his land
was full of misbelievers. A searching inquest was organized, and he soon
had five hundred prisoners representing all classes of society. He was a
humane man, as the times went, and he sincerely sought their conversion,
to which end he set on foot disputations, but his clergy were no match
for the sectaries in knowledge of Scripture, and the faith gained little
by the attempt. Recourse to stronger measures was evidently requisite,
and he announced that all who were obstinate should be burned. This
brought most of them to their senses; heretic books and writings were
eagerly surrendered, and the converts abjured. About a hundred of them,
however, under the persuasion of their leader, a priest of Strassburg
named John, were obdurate, including twelve priests, twenty-three women,
and a number of nobles. So ignorant were the episcopal officials of the
method of proceeding against heretics that they were utterly at a loss
how to convict these recusants; some form of trial seems to have been
thought necessary, and resort was had to the old expedient of the
red-hot iron ordeal. The heretics protested against it as a manifest
tempting of God, but their objections were unavailing; those who denied
their heresy were subjected to it, and naturally but few escaped. One
of them, named Reinhold, appealed to Innocent III. against this form of
trial, and the pope promptly responded by forbidding its further use in
such matters, although we are told by contemporaries that its efficacy
was abundantly proved by miracles. One of the heretics who repented at
the last moment was divinely cured of his burn and was discharged.
Returning home rejoicing, his wife upbraided him with his weakness, and
under her reproof he relapsed. Immediately the burn reappeared, and a
similar one was developed on the hand of the wife, inflicting such agony
that neither could restrain their screams. Fearing to betray themselves,
they rushed to the woods, where they yelled like wild beasts; this led
to their speedy discovery, and before the ashes of their confederates
were yet cold they both shared the same fate. More fortunate was one of
a number of heretics convicted in this manner at Cambrai about the same
time. On his way to the stake he listened to the exhortations of a
priest and commenced to repent and confess. As he did so his hand began
to heal, and when he received absolution there was no trace left of the
burn. Then the priest called attention to him, pronouncing him innocent,
and on the evidence of his uninjured hand he was discharged. At
Strassburg there were eighty obstinate ones, whose heresy was proved by
the ordeal. They were all burned the same day in a ditch beyond the
walls, and in the sixteenth century the hollow was still known to the
citizens as the Ketzergrube. The property of the condemned was duly
confiscated and was divided between the magistrates and those who had
labored so successfully in vindicating the faith.[354]

It is not to be supposed that Strassburg was a solitary centre of
heresy, and that this was the only case of contemporary persecution.
Fragmentary allusions to the detection and punishment of misbelief in
other places during the next few years show that the population of the
Rhinelands was deeply infected, and that when the ignorance and sloth of
the clergy permitted detection, heretics were ruthlessly exterminated.
The event at Strassburg, however, happens to have been reported with a
fulness of detail which invests it with peculiar importance as revealing
the methods of the episcopal inquisition of the period, and the nature
of existing religious dissidence.[355]

The Cathari appear to have virtually disappeared from Germany, where
their foothold, at best, had been precarious. German soil seems to have
been unpropitious to this essentially Southern growth. On the other
hand, Waldenses were numerous, together with sectaries known as
Ortlibenses or Ordibarii.

We have already seen how rapidly Waldensianism extended from Burgundy to
Franche Comté and Lorraine, and how, in 1199, Innocent III., after
vainly endeavoring to persuade the Waldenses of Metz to surrender their
vernacular Scriptures, had sent thither the Abbot of Citeaux and two
other abbots to repress their zeal. The abbots duly performed their
mission, preached to the misguided zealots, and burned all such copies
of the forbidden books as they could lay their hands on, though it is
fair to presume, from the silence of the chronicler, that no human
victims expiated at the stake their unlawful studies. The consequence of
this misplaced lenity was the emboldenment of the heretics. Some years
later when Bishop Bertrand was preaching in the cathedral he saw two
whom he recognized, and pointed them out, saying, “I see among you
missionaries of the Devil; there they are, who in my presence at
Montpellier were condemned for heresy and cast out.” The unabashed
Waldenses, with a companion, replied to him with insults, and, leaving
the church, gathered a crowd, to whom they preached their doctrines. The
bishop was powerless to silence them, for, when he attempted to use
force, he found them protected by some of the most influential citizens
of the town, and they were able to disseminate their pestiferous
opinions in safety. Here, as in many other places, quarrels between the
people and the bishop paralyzed the arm of the Church, and the Waldenses
for many years continued to infect the city.[356]

It cannot, therefore, surprise us that nearly all the heretics burned at
Strassburg in 1212 belonged to this sect. From their writings and
confessions a list of three hundred errors was compiled, afterwards
condensed into seventeen, and these were read before them to the people
while they were on their way to the place of execution. Priest John,
their leader, admitted the correctness of all save one alleging
promiscuous sexual intercourse, which he indignantly denied. Those which
he admitted show how rapidly their doctrines were developing to their
logical conclusions, and how impassable was the gulf which already
separated them from the Church. All the holy orders were rejected, and
this already led to the abolition of sacerdotal celibacy; disbelief in
purgatory was definitely adopted, with its consequences as to prayers
and masses for the dead, and there had already been invented, before St.
Francis and his followers, the dogma that Christ and his disciples held
no property.[357]

The Ortlibenses or Ordibarii, who were also represented among the
victims of Strassburg, demand a somewhat more detailed consideration
than their immediate importance would seem to justify, because, although
comparatively few in numbers, they present the earliest indication of a
peculiar tendency in German free thought which we shall find reproduce
itself in many forms, and constitute, with almost unconquerable
stubbornness, the principal enemy with which the Inquisition had to

Early in the century Maître David de Dinant, a schoolman of Paris, whose
subtlety of argumentation rendered him a favorite with Innocent III.,
had indulged in dangerous speculations derived from the Aristotelian
philosophy, as transmitted through the Arab commentators, adulterated
with neo-Platonic elements, which transmuted the theism of the Greek
into a kind of mystic pantheism. These speculations were carried still
further by his fellow-schoolman, Amauri de Bène, a favorite of the
heir-apparent, Prince Louis. His views were condemned by the university
in 1204; he appealed to the Holy See, but was compelled to abjure in
1207, when he is said to have died of mortification. He had disciples,
however, who propagated his doctrines in secret. They were mostly men of
education and intelligence, theologians of the university and priests,
except a certain goldsmith named Guillaume, who was esteemed as the
prophet of the little sect. It was impossible that bold speculations of
this nature should remain stationary, and the theoretical premises of
David and Amauri were carried to unexpected conclusions in the effort to
reduce them into a system for proselytism among the people. Amauri had
taught that God was the essence of all creatures, and, as light could
not be seen of itself, but only in the air, so God was invisible except
in his creatures. The inevitable deduction from this was that after
death all beings would return to God, and in him be unified in eternal
rest. This swept away the doctrines of future retribution, purgatory,
and hell, and, as the Amaurians did not fail to point out, the
innumerable observances through which the Church controlled the
consciences and the wealth of men through its power over the keys and
the treasury of salvation. As this was destructive to the ecclesiastical
system, so was the doctrine equally subversive of morality, which taught
that such was the virtue of love and charity that whatever was done in
their behalf could be no sin, and, further, that any one filled with the
Holy Ghost was impeccable, no matter what crime he might commit, because
that Spirit, which is God, cannot sin, nor can man, who is nothing of
himself, so long as the Spirit of God is in him.[358]

There was in these utterances an irresistible attraction to minds prone
to mystic exaltation. Even the orthodox Cæsarius of Heisterbach argues
that much is permitted to the saints which is forbidden to sinners;
where is the Spirit of God, there is liberty--have charity, and do what
thou pleasest.[359] When the fatal word had once been spoken, it could
not be hushed to silence, and, in spite of the most persistent and
unsparing efforts of repression, these dangerous heights of superhuman
spirituality continued to be the goal of men dissatisfied with the
limitations of frail humanity, down to the time of Molinos and the
Illuminati, and the influence of the doctrine is to be traced in the
reveries of Madame Guyon and the Quietists.

Yet the Amaurian heresy was speedily crushed in its place of origin. In
his proselyting zeal, Guillaume the goldsmith, in 1210, approached a
certain Maître Raoul de Nemours, who feigned readiness of conviction,
and reported the matter to Pierre, Bishop of Paris, and Maître Robert de
Curzon, the papal supervisor of preaching in France. By their advice he
pretended conversion and accompanied the Amaurians on a missionary tour
which lasted for three months and extended as far as Langres. We learn
something of the habits of the sectaries when we are told that to keep
up the deception he would pretend to be wrapped in ecstasy, with face
upturned to heaven, and on recovering himself would relate the visions
which had been vouchsafed to him, though he successfully evaded the
requests that he should preach the new doctrines in public. When fully
informed as to all details, he communicated with the authorities, and
arrests were made. A council of bishops was convened in Paris which
found no difficulty in condemning all concerned; those who were in
orders were degraded, and they were all handed over to the secular
authorities. There were as yet no laws defining the punishment of
heresy, so their fate was postponed until the return of the king, who
was then absent. The result was that four of the leaders were imprisoned
for life and ten were burned, who met their fate with unshrinking
calmness. The simple folk of both sexes who had been seduced into
following them were mercifully spared. A few executions took place
elsewhere, such as that of one of the heresiarchs, Maître Godin, who was
tried and burned at Amiens; the remains of Amauri were exhumed and
exposed to the dogs, after which his bones were scattered in the fields;
the writings of the enthusiasts were forbidden to be read; the study of
natural science in the university was suspended for three years, and the
works of Aristotle, which had given rise to the heresy, were publicly

The doctrine of impeccability was likely to give loosened rein to human
passion in those whose spiritual exaltation did not lift them above the
weakness of the flesh, and there may be truth in the accusations current
against the Amaurians, that the disciples of both sexes abandoned
themselves to scandalous license, under the pretext of yielding to the
demands of Christian love. Yet the popular designation of Papelards
bestowed on the sectaries show that they at least preserved an exterior
of sanctity and devotion, and that they prudently abstained from putting
into practice their theories of the uselessness of the sacraments and of
all external cult.

The heresy was thus crushed in its birthplace, where we hear no more of
it except that there were teachers of it in Dauphiné, where they were
confounded with the Waldenses, and that in 1225 Honorius III. ordered
the destruction of the Periphyseos of Erigena, which was thought to have
given rise to Amauri’s speculations. The seed, however, was widely
scattered, to bear fruit in foreign soil. The University of Paris drew
together eager searchers after knowledge from every country in Europe,
and it could not be difficult for the Amaurians to find among those from
abroad converts who would prove useful missionaries. In 1215, Robert de
Curzon includes the works of a certain Maurice the Spaniard in his
condemnation of those of David and Amauri. Another disciple is said to
have been Ortlieb of Strassburg, the teacher of the sectaries known by
his name whose fate we have seen at Strassburg. That the heresy was
known not to be extinguished is shown by the fact that in 1215 the
great Council of Lateran still deemed it necessary to utter a formal
condemnation of the doctrines of Amauri, which it stigmatized as crazy
rather than heretical.[361]

We know little of the faith originally professed by the Brethren of the
Free Spirit, as the followers of Ortlieb called themselves. The
principal account we have of their doctrines in the thirteenth century
concerns itself much more with the results in denying the efficacy of
sacerdotal observances than with the principles which led to those
results; but there are indications of pantheism in the assertion of the
eternity of the uncreated universe, in the promise of eternal life to
all, while denying the resurrection of the flesh, and in the mystic
representation of the Trinity by three members of the sect. No
immorality is attributed to them; nay, the severest continence was
prescribed by them, even in marriage; the only generation of children
permitted was spiritual, through conversion, while homicide, lying, and
oaths were strictly forbidden. It is quite probable that in Alsace the
prevalence of Waldensianism and the sympathies born of common
proscription may have considerably modified the opinions of the
disciples of Ortlieb. They were by no means exterminated in the
persecutions of 1212, and we hear of further pursuit against them in
1216, extending as far as Thurgau, in Switzerland. About the middle of
the century they are described as prevailing in Suabia, especially in
the neighborhood of Nördlingen and Oettingen, and Albertus Magnus
thought them of sufficient importance to draw up an elaborate list of
their errors.[362]

It was not long before another consequence, especially shocking to the
faithful, was drawn from the fruitful premises of pantheism. If God was
the essence of all creatures, Satan himself could not be excepted; if
all were to be eventually reunited in God, Satan and his angels could
not be condemned to eternal perdition. So infinite were the conclusions
which flowed from the bold assumptions of the Amaurians, that those who
accepted their views inevitably diverged in the applications, as they
attributed greater or less importance to one series of propositions or
another. There were some who took special interest in this theory as to
Satan, and as their utterances were peculiarly exasperating to the
orthodox, they were designated as a separate sect under the name of
Luciferans. Of these we hear much but see little. Their doctrines were
exaggerated into devil-worship, and they were included in the list of
heretics to be periodically anathematized with a zeal which attributed
to them vastly greater importance than their scanty numbers deserved.
Probably this was because they were peculiarly well adapted to serve as
a stimulus for a healthy popular abhorrence of heresy. The most
extravagant and repulsive stories were circulated as to their hideous
rites, which gradually took shape under the current superstitions as to
witchcraft, which they aided to formulate and render concrete. At the
period under consideration they formed the basis of the wildest and most
ferocious epidemic of persecution that the world had yet seen.

The first indication we have of this tendency occurs in the case of
Henry Minneke, Provost of the Cistercian nunnery of Neuwerke in Goslar,
which is further of interest as showing how utterly, at the close of the
first quarter of the thirteenth century, Germany was destitute of any
inquisitorial machinery, and how ignorant were her prelates as yet of
inquisitorial procedure. In 1222 Minneke was accused before his bishop,
the fanatic Conrad von Reisenberg of Hildesheim, of certain heretical
opinions. An assembly of prelates was held at Goslar, which took
testimony of his nuns, and found him guilty. He was simply ordered to
teach his doctrines no longer. When he disobeyed he was summoned before
Bishop Conrad, who examined him for three days and sentenced him to
return to his Premonstratensian monastery, and ordered the nuns to elect
another provost. To this, again, he paid no attention, probably
considering that his immunities as a monk exempted him from episcopal
jurisdiction, and the bishop seems to have had no resource but to
implore the intervention of Honorius III. When the pope ordered the
sentence executed, the nuns interjected an appeal back to him and to the
emperor. Both appeals were rejected; Minneke was declared a diseased
member of the Church, fit only to be cut off, and the nuns were told
that they should rejoice in being liberated from his influence. Still he
remained firm, and the bishop was obliged to consult the
Cardinal-legate, Cinthio of Porto, before he ventured to throw the
indomitable heretic into prison. From his jail, Minneke himself appealed
to the pope, asserting that he had been condemned unheard, praying for
an examination, and offering to submit to incarceration for life if he
should refuse to recant any erroneous opinions of which he might be
convicted. Honorius thereupon, in May, 1224, ordered Bishop Conrad to
bring his prisoner before the legate and an assembly of prelates for a
final hearing and judgment. About October I, at Bardewick, Cinthio met
an assembly of the bishops of North Germany, where it was decided that
Minneke was convicted of having encouraged the nuns to regard him as
greater than any other born of woman; he had on many points relaxed the
severe Cistercian discipline; in his sermons he had declared that the
Holy Ghost was the Father of the Son, and had so exalted the state of
virginity as to represent marriage as a sin; in a vision he had seen
Satan praying to be forgiven, and he had asserted that in heaven there
was a woman greater than the Virgin, whose name was Wisdom. Still
another synod, held at Hildesheim, October 22, was requisite to conclude
the matter. Minneke was brought before it, was convicted of his errors,
and degraded from the priesthood, but even yet Bishop Conrad was so
little sure of his authority that the sentence was published under the
seal of the legate. The culprit was handed over to the secular
authorities, and was duly burned in 1225. The prominence accorded to
this assertion, that Satan desired forgiveness, is shown by his being
stigmatized as a Manichæan and a Luciferan.[363]

This case has a further interest for us, inasmuch as one of the
participators in the final judgment was a man who filled all Germany
with his fame, and who was the most perfect embodiment of the pure
fanaticism of his time--Conrad of Marburg. Though a secular priest and
holding himself aloof from both Mendicant Orders,[364] Conrad steeped
himself in the severest poverty and gained his bread by beggary. Though
he could have aspired to any dignity in the Church, which reverenced him
as its greatest apostle, and though for years all the benefices of
Thuringia were placed by the Landgrave Louis at his absolute disposal,
he never accepted a single preferment. Devoted solely to the work of the
Lord, his fiery soul and unrelaxing energies were directed with absolute
singleness of purpose to advancing the kingdom of heaven upon earth,
according to the light which was in him.[365]

Stern in temper and narrow in mind, his bigotry was ardent to the pitch
of insanity. What were his conceptions of the duty of man to his Creator
and how his conscience led him to abuse unlimited authority can best be
judged by his course as spiritual director of St. Elizabeth of
Thuringia. The daughter of Andreas of Hungary, born in 1207, married in
1221, at the age of thirteen, to Louis of Thuringia, one of the most
powerful of German princes, a mother at fourteen, a widow at twenty, and
dying of self-inflicted austerities in her twenty-fourth year,
Elizabeth was the rarest type of womanly gentleness and self-abnegation,
of all Christian virtues and spiritual aspirations. When but eighteen
years of age she placed herself under Conrad’s direction, and he
proceeded to discipline this heavenly spirit with a ferocity worthy of a
demon. Such implicit obedience did he exact that on one occasion when he
had sent for her to hear him preach, and she was unable to do so on
account of an unexpected visit from her sister-in-law, the Margravine of
Misnia, he angrily declared that he would leave her. She went to him the
next day and entreated for pardon; on his continuing obdurate, she and
her maidens, whom he blamed for the matter, cast themselves at his feet,
when he caused them all to be stripped to their shifts and soundly
scourged. It is no wonder that he inspired her with such terror that she
was wont to say “If I so much dread a mortal man, how is God to be
rightly dreaded?” After the death of Louis, whom she tenderly loved,
and when his brother Henry despoiled her and drove her out, penniless,
with her children, she submitted with patient resignation and earned her
living by beggary; and when he was forced to compound for her
dower-rights with money, she made haste to distribute it in charity.
Under the influence of the diseased pietism inculcated by Conrad, she
abandoned her children to God and devoted herself to succoring casual
outcasts and lepers; and the depth of her humility was shown when
scandal made busy with her fame in consequence of her relations with
Conrad. On being warned of this and counselled to greater prudence, she
brought forth the bloody scourge which she used, and said, “This is the
love the holy man bears to me. I thank God, who has deigned to accept
this final oblation from me. I have sacrificed everything--station,
wealth, beauty--and have made myself a beggar, intending only to
preserve the adornment of womanly modesty; if God chooses to take this
also, I hold it to be a special grace.” It was this spirit, so
self-abased and humble, that Conrad’s brutal fanaticism sought
systematically to break, contradicting her of set purpose in all things,
and demanding of her every possible sacrifice. Merely to add to her
afflictions he drove away, one by one, the faithful serving-women who
idolized her, finally expelling Guda, who had been her loved companion
since infancy in Hungary; as they themselves said, “He did this with a
good intention, because he feared our influence in recalling her past
splendors, and he wished to deprive her of all human comfort that she
might rely wholly on God.” When she disobeyed his orders he used to
beat her and strike her, which she endured with pleasure, in memory of
the blows inflicted on Christ. Once he sent for her to come to him at
Oldenburg to determine whether he would put her into an extremely rigid
convent there. The nuns asked him to let her visit them, and he gave her
permission, expecting that she would decline in view of the
excommunication hanging over all intruders on the sacred precincts.
Supposing, however, that she had leave, she went, while her woman
Irmengard stood outside, received the key, and opened the door. For this
Conrad made them both lie down, and ordered his faithful comrade, Friar
Gerhard, to beat them with a heavy rod, so that they bore the marks of
the flogging for weeks. Well might, in the next century, the mysterious
Friend of God in the Oberland, when speaking of St. Elizabeth, remark
that she had abandoned herself, in place of to God, to a man far
inferior to herself in natural aptitudes as well as in the gifts of
divine grace.[366]

The significance of all this lies not only in the coarse violence of
Conrad’s methods, which regarded torture, mental and physical, as the
most efficient aid to salvation, but also in the arrogance of the nature
which could, without a shadow of hesitation, assume the position of an
avenging God punishing humanity for its weakness and sin. When a man of
such a temper was inflamed with the most fiery fanaticism, was armed
with irresponsible power, and believed himself to be engaged in a direct
conflict with Satan, his mad enthusiasm could lead only to a
catastrophe. For the evil which he wrought it would be unjust to hold
him responsible. The crime lay with those who could coolly select such
an instrument, work up his crazy zeal to the highest pitch, and then let
him loose to wreak his blind wrath upon defenceless populations.

Conrad had long been a man of mark, and his qualities were well known to
those who made use of him. His burning eloquence was adapted to move the
passions of the people, and as early as 1214 he had been honored with a
commission to preach in Germany the crusade which was one of the
objects for which the great Council of Lateran was assembled. From this
time on his activity was unabated, and there is probably truth in the
assertion that he took part in the occasional persecutions of heresy
which are reported, though no details have reached us. His mission as
preacher brought him into direct relations with Rome, and his success in
inducing thousands to take the cross gave him high repute with the
curia, doubtless enhanced by the disinterestedness which asked for no
reward. He gradually came to be employed as a representative in matters
of importance, and his unwearied energy rendered him increasingly
useful. In 1220 he was intrusted with the duty of compelling, by the
censures of the Church, the Emperor Frederic to fulfil his long-delayed
vow of leading an expedition to the Holy Land, and he was further made
chief of the business of preaching in its behalf, by being empowered to
commission assistants throughout Germany. In these letters he is
addressed as “_Scholasticus_” or head of the church schools in Mainz,
showing that he then held that dignity. In 1227 still greater evidence
was given of the confidence reposed in him. In March of that year
Gregory XI. had mounted the papal throne with full resolve to crush the
rising powers of heresy, and, if possible, to deprive it of its excuse
for existence in the corruptions of the church establishment. We have
seen how, on June 20, 1227, he tried the experiment in Florence of
creating a kind of inquisition, with a Dominican to exercise its
functions. In Germany there seems to have been no one but Conrad on whom
to rely. June 12, eight days before the commission issued to Giovanni di
Salerno, Gregory wrote to Conrad commending highly the diligence with
which he was tracking and pursuing heretics--a diligence of which,
unfortunately, all details are lost to us. In order that his labors
might be more efficacious, Conrad was directed and empowered to nominate
whomsoever he might see fit as his assistants, and with them to inquire
energetically after all who were infected with heresy, so that the
extirpation of the tares from the fields of the Lord might proceed with
due authority. Though the Inquisition was scarce as yet even a
prospective conception, this was in effect an informal commission as
inquisitor-general for Germany, and it is probably no injustice to
Gregory to suggest that one of the motives prompting it was the desire
to substitute papal authority for the episcopal jurisdiction under
which the local and spasmodic persecutions had hitherto been carried

Eight days later, on June 20, another commission was sent to Conrad,
which increased enormously his power and influence. The German Church
was as corrupt and depraved as its neighbors, and all efforts to purify
it had thus far proved failures. In 1225 the Cardinal-legate Cinthio had
assembled a great national council at Mainz, which had solemnly adopted
an elaborate series of searching canons of reformation, that proved as
bootless as all similar efforts before or since. Something more was
wanted, and the sternly implacable virtue of Conrad seemed to point him
out as the fitting instrument for burning out the incurable cancer which
was consuming the vitals of the German Church. Gregory, whose residence
beyond the Alps as legate had rendered him familiar with its condition,
describes its priesthood as abandoned to lasciviousness, gluttony, and
all manner of filthy living, like cattle putrescing in their own dung;
as committing habitually wickedness which laymen would abhor, corrupting
the people by their evil example, and causing the name of the Lord to be
blasphemed. To remedy these deplorable evils, he now commissioned Conrad
as reformer, with full powers to enforce the regulations of the
cardinal-legate, and the monasteries were especially designated as
objects for his regenerating hand.[368]

Armed with almost illimitable powers, Conrad was now the foremost German
ecclesiastic of the time, and we may well understand the admiration of
Theodoric of Thuringia, who declares that he shone like a star
throughout all Germany. Yet at this time his ill-balanced impulsiveness
was concentrating his energies on the torturing of St. Elizabeth. There
is no trace of his exercising his inquisitorial functions, and the only
record of his activity as a reformer is his reorganizing the nunnery of
Nordhausen by the simple expedient of expelling the nuns, who all led
ungodly lives. Yet his services as a persecutor never were more needed.
The excommunication of the Emperor Frederic, on September 29 of the same
year, for temporarily abandoning his crusade, had set Church and State
fairly by the ears, and had inspired the heretics with fresh hopes.
Everywhere their missionary activity redoubled, and the land was said to
be full of them. In each diocese they had a bishop to whom they gave the
name of the regular incumbent, and they pretended to have a pope whom
they called Gregory, so that, under examination, they could swear that
they held the faith of the bishop and of Pope Gregory. In 1229 the
Waldenses were again discovered in Strassburg, and for several years
persecution continued there, resulting in burning many obstinate
heretics and penancing those who yielded.[369]

Local measures such as these were manifestly insufficient, and thus far
all efforts at a comprehensive system of persecution had failed. In 1231
Gregory was busily occupied in organizing some more efficient method,
and Germany was not forgotten. The Roman statutes of Annibaldo and the
papal edicts of that year, to which frequent allusion has been made
above, were sent to the Teutonic prelates, June 20, with letters blaming
them for their lukewarmness and lenity, and ordering them to put
vigorously into force the new edicts. Yet already there had been
sufficient persecution to occasion the necessity of settling the novel
questions arising from the confiscations, and the Diet of Worms, on June
2 of the same year, had decided that the allodial lands and the movables
should go to the heirs, the fiefs to the lord, and in case of serfs the
personalty to the master, thus excluding the Church and the persecutors
from any share. Under Gregory’s earnest impulsion the sluggishness of
the bishops was somewhat stimulated. The Archbishop of Trèves made a
perquisition through his city, and found three schools of heretics in
full activity. He called a synod for the trial of those who were
captured, and had the satisfaction of burning three men, and a woman
named Leuchardis, who had borne the reputation of exceeding holiness,
but who was found, upon examination, to belong to the dreaded sect of
Luciferans, deploring the fall of Satan as unjustly banished from

Still the results did not correspond to Gregory’s desires. In October of
the same year (1231) he sought to spur Conrad on to a discharge of his
duty by praising in the most exalted terms his activity and success in
exterminating heretics, and by exhorting him, with the same wealth of
exaggeration, to redoubled energy. The need of earnest work was more
pressing than ever. The Archbishops of Trèves and Mainz had reported
that an apostle of heresy had been sowing tares through all the land, so
that not only the cities, but the towns and hamlets, were infected. Many
heresiarchs, moreover, each in his own appointed district, were laboring
to overthrow the Church. Conrad was therefore given full discretionary
powers; he was not even required to hear the cases, but only to
pronounce judgment, which was to be final and without appeal--justice to
those suspect of heresy being, apparently, of no moment. He was
authorized to command the aid of the secular arm, to excommunicate
protectors of heresy, and to lay interdict on whole districts. The
recent decrees of the Holy See were referred to as his guide, and
heretics who would abjure were to have the benefit of absolution, care
being taken that they should have no further opportunity of mischief--a
delicate expression for condemning them to lifelong incarceration. When
Conrad received these extensive powers he was so dangerously ill that
his life was despaired of, and before he had fairly recovered St.
Elizabeth died, November 29, 1231. Harsh as was his nature, her loss
affected him severely, and for a considerable time his energies were
concentrated on fruitless efforts for her canonization. In intervals of
leisure, however, he exercised his powers on such heretics as were
unlucky enough to be within easy reach. In Marburg itself many suspects
were seized, including knights, priests, and persons of condition, of
whom some recanted and the rest were burned. On one excursion to Erfurt,
moreover, in 1232, he took the opportunity to burn four more

Results so far below what might reasonably have been expected could not
but be disappointing in the extreme to Gregory. One expedient
remained--to try whether among the Dominicans there might not be found
men able and willing to devote themselves fearlessly and exclusively to
the holy work. Between the end of 1231 and that of 1232, therefore,
commissions were sent to various Dominican establishments empowering
their officials to undertake the work. The treaty of Ceperano, in 1230,
had restored peace between the empire and the papacy, and Frederic’s aid
was successfully invoked to give the imperial sanction to the new
experiment. From Ravenna, in March, 1232, he issued a constitution
addressed to all the prelates and potentates of the empire, ordering
their efficient co-operation in the extirpation of heresy, and taking
under the special imperial protection all the Mendicants deputed by the
pope for that purpose. The secular authorities were commanded to arrest
all who should be designated to them by the inquisitors, to hold them
safely until condemnation, and to put to a dreadful death those
convicted of heresy or fautorship, or to imprison for life such as
should recant and abjure. Relapse was punishable with the death-penalty,
and descendants to the second generation were declared incapable of
holding fiefs or public office.[372]

Here were laws provided and ministers for their enforcement, and the
business of vindicating the faith might at last be expected to prosper.
If Conrad was remiss, others would be found enthusiastically ready for
the work. So it proved. Suddenly there appeared on the scene a Dominican
named Conrad Tors, said to be a convert from heresy, who, without
special commission, commenced to clear the land of error. He carried
with him a layman named John, one-eyed and one-handed, of thoroughly
disreputable character, who boasted that he could recognize a heretic at
sight. Apparently with little more evidence than this, Conrad Tors
raided from town to town, condemning his victims wholesale, and those
whom he delivered to the magistrates they were compelled by popular
excitement to burn. Soon, however, a revulsion of feeling took place,
and then the Dominican shrewdly enlisted the support of the nobles by
directing his attacks against the more wealthy, and holding out the
prospect of extensive confiscations to be divided. When remonstrated
with he is said to have replied, “I would burn a hundred innocent if
there was one guilty among them.” Stimulated by this shining example,
many Dominicans and Franciscans joined him, and became his eager
assistants in the work.[373]

Whether, as reported, Conrad Tors, to strengthen himself, sought out
Conrad of Marburg and persuaded him to take part in the good work, or
whether the latter, scenting the battle from afar, was aroused from his
torpor and rushed eagerly to the fray, cannot positively be determined.
This much is certain, that at length he came forward, and not only lent
the weight of his great name to the proceedings, but urged them to a
crueller and wider development with all his vehemence of character and
implacable severity.

The heresy of which the miserable victims of this onslaught were accused
was not Waldensian, but Luciferan. Its hideous rites were described in
full detail by Master Conrad to Pope Gregory, and are worth repeating as
illustrating the superstitions concerning witchcraft which, for
centuries, worked such cruel wrong in every corner of Europe. Indeed, it
seemed inevitable that such embroideries should be added by
inquisitorial craft or popular credulity to the tenets of heretics, for,
on the first emergence of Catharism at Orleans in 1022, very similar
stories were told of the infernal rites of the heretics, which are
repeated by Walter Mapes in the latter half of the twelfth century.[374]
That Conrad obtained these wild fictions in endless duplication from
those who stood before his judgment-seat there need be no reasonable
doubt. The reports of witch-trials in later times are too numerous and
authentic for us to question the readiness of self-accusation of those
who saw no other means of escape, or their eagerness to propitiate their
judge by responding to every incriminating suggestion, and telling him
what they found him desirous of hearing. Crude as were Conrad’s methods,
the inquisitorial process proved its universal effectiveness by their
producing confessions as surely as the more elaborate refinements
invented by his successors, although he had not the advantage of the use
of torture.

According to these revelations, when a novice is received into the sect
and first attends the assembly, there appears to him a toad, which he
kisses either on the posteriors or on the mouth; in the latter case it
deposits something in his mouth. Occasionally it has the aspect of a
goose or of a duck, and sometimes it is as large as an oven. Then there
comes to him a man of wonderful paleness, with the blackest of eyes, and
so thin that he is naught but skin and bone. Him the novice likewise
kisses, finding him ice-cold, and with that kiss all remembrance of the
Catholic faith vanishes from his heart. Then all sit down to a feast,
after which, from a statue which is always present, there descends a
black cat, as large as a dog, with the tail bent back. She comes down
backwards and her posteriors are kissed, first by the novice, then by
the master of the assembly, and finally by all who are worthy and
perfect, while those who are imperfect and feel themselves unworthy
receive peace from the master. Then each resumes his place, songs are
sung, and the master says to his next neighbor, “What does this
teach?” The answer is, “The highest peace,” and another adds, “And
that we must obey.” All lights are then extinguished and indiscriminate
intercourse takes place, after which the candles are relighted, each one
takes his seat, and from a dark corner appears a man shining like the
sun in his upper half, while from the hips down he is black like the
cat. He illuminates the whole place, and the master, taking a fragment
of the novice’s garment, hands it to him, saying, “Master, I give this
to thee which has been given to me.” To this the shining man replies,
“Thou hast served me well, thou wilt serve me more and better. I leave
to thy care what thou hast given me,” and then he disappears. Each year
at Easter they receive the host, carry it home in their mouths, and spit
it out into a cesspool to show their contempt for the Redeemer. They
hold that God unjustly and treacherously cast Satan into hell; the
latter is the Creator, who in the end will overcome God, when they
expect eternal bliss with him. That which is pleasing to God is to be
avoided, and that which he hates is to be cherished.

This transparent tissue of inventions was apparently doubted by no one,
and it excited almost to insanity the credulous old man who filled the
papal chair. He replies that he is drunk with wormwood, and in fact his
letters read like the ravings of a madman. “If against such men the
earth should rise up, and the stars of heaven reveal their iniquity, so
that not only men, but the elements, should unite in their destruction,
wiping them from the face of the earth without sparing sex or age, and
rendering them an eternal opprobrium for the nations, it would not be a
sufficient and worthy punishment of their crimes.” If they cannot be
converted, the strongest remedies must be used. Fire and steel must be
applied to wounds incurable by milder applications. Conrad was
instructed forthwith to preach a crusade against them, and the bishop of
the province, the emperor, and his son, King Henry, were ordered to
exert all their powers for the extirpation of the wretches.[375]

The means which Master Conrad took to obtain these avowals from his
victims were simple in the extreme. The processes of the Inquisition had
not yet been formulated, and the unlimited powers with which he was
clothed enabled his impatient temper to reach the desired goal by the
shortest possible course. As officially reported, after the bursting of
the bubble, to Gregory by his own penitentiary, the Dominican Bernard,
and the Archbishop of Mainz, the accused was allowed simply the option
of confessing what was demanded of him, and receiving penance, or of
being burned for denial--which, in fact, was the essence of the
inquisitorial process, reduced to its simplest terms. Conrad had no
prisons at his disposal for the incarceration of penitents, and the
infliction of wearing crosses seems to have been unknown to him, so he
devised the penance of shaving the head as a mark of humiliation for his
converts, who were moreover, of course, obliged to give the names of all
whom they had seen in the hideous nocturnal assemblies.

At the outset he had fallen into the hands of a designing woman, a
vagrant about twenty years old who had quarrelled with her relations,
and who, coming by chance to Bingen, and observing what was going on,
saw her opportunity of revenge. She pretended to be of the sect, that
her husband had been burned, that she wished to perish likewise, but
added that if the Master would believe her she would reveal the names of
the guilty. Conrad eagerly swallowed the bait, and sent her with his
assistants to Clavelt, whence she came, where she caused the burning of
her kindred. Then there was a certain Amfrid, who finally confessed that
he had led Conrad to condemn a number of innocent men. Creatures of this
kind were sure not to be lacking, and it was even said that cunning
heretics caused themselves to be accused, and accepted penance, for the
purpose of incriminating Catholics, and thus rendering the whole
proceeding odious. As no one had the slightest opportunity of defence,
some steadfast men preferred to be burned and thus earn salvation,
rather than to confess to lies and falsely accuse others. The weaker
ones who saved their lives, when pressed to name their accomplices,
would often say, “I know not whom to accuse: tell me the names of those
you suspect;” or, when interrogated about individuals, would evasively
reply, “They were as I was; they were in the assemblies as I was,”
which was apparently sufficient. “Thus,” proceeds the official report
to the pope, “brother accused brother, the wife the husband, and the
master the servant. Others gave money to the shaven penitents in order
to learn from them methods of evasion and escape, and there arose a
confusion unknown for ages. I, the archbishop, first by myself and
afterwards with the two archbishops of Trèves and Cologne, warned Master
Conrad to proceed in so great a matter with more moderation and
discretion, but he refused.”[376]

From this last fact we gather that the prelates of the land, while not
interfering effectively to protect their people, had, at least, taken no
part in the insane persecution which was raging. Conrad had found plenty
of assistants among the Dominicans and Franciscans, but the secular
hierarchy had held aloof. In vain had Gregory, in October, 1232, written
to them and to the princes, telling them that the heretics who formerly
lay in hiding were now coming forward openly, like war-horses harnessed
for battle, publicly preaching their errors and seeking the perdition of
the simple and ignorant. Faith was rare in Germany, he said, and,
therefore, he ordered them to make vigorous inquisition throughout their
lands, seizing all heretics and suspects, and proceeding against them in
accordance with the papal decrees of 1231. The appeal fell upon deaf
ears. The bishops seem to have been thoroughly disturbed by the
encroachments which the papacy was making on their independence through
the new agencies which it was bringing into play. The Mendicant Orders
were already a sufficiently dangerous factor, and now came these new
inquisitors, armed with papal commissions, superseding their
time-honored jurisdiction in every spot within their dioceses. It is no
wonder that they felt alarmed, and that they held aloof. The German
prelates were great secular princes, combining civil and spiritual
authority. The three electoral archbishops--Mainz, Trèves, and
Cologne--stood on a level as temporal lords with the most powerful
princes of the empire, and the wide extent of many of the dioceses
rendered the bishops scarcely less formidable. They were always
suffering from the greed of the Roman curia, and were perpetually
involved in struggles to resist its encroachments. Frederic II., indeed,
by his constitutions of 1232, had increased their secular authority by
rendering them absolute masters of the episcopal cities, whose municipal
rights and liberties he abolished, but at the same time he had given, as
we have seen, the imperial sanction to the papal Inquisition, and had
rendered it everywhere supreme. It is no wonder that they felt aggrieved
and alarmed, that they withheld their co-operation as far as they
safely could, and that well-grounded jealousy would lead them to seize
the first safe opportunity of crushing the intruding upstarts.[377]

Fortunately for the German people, Conrad’s blind recklessness was not
long in affording them the desired chance. Beginning with the lowly and
helpless, his operations had rapidly advanced to the higher classes. In
his eyes the meanest peasant and the loftiest noble were on an equality,
and he was as prompt to assail the one as the other, but his witnesses
at first had not dared to accuse the high-born and powerful. It is quite
possible, indeed, that, as the persecution became more dreadful, some of
them may have felt that the surest mode of bringing on a crisis was to
involve the magnates of the land. Rumors were spread impugning the faith
of the Counts of Aneberg, Lotz, and Sayn. Conrad eagerly directed his
interrogatories to obtaining evidence against them, and summoned them to
appear before him. Count Sayn was an especially notable prey, as he was
one of the most powerful nobles of the diocese, whose extensive
possessions were guarded by castles renowned for strength, and whose
reputation was that of a stern and cruel man. The crime of which he was
accused was that of riding on a crab, and open defiance was expected
from him. Sigfried, the Archbishop of Mainz, to make a show of obedience
to the papal commands, had called a provincial council to assemble March
13, 1233. When it met, it deplored the prevalence of heresy, from which
scarce a village in the land was free; it prayed the prelates to labor
zealously for the suppression of the evil, commanded them to enforce in
their respective dioceses the recent decrees of the pope and of the
emperor, which were to be read and explained in the local synods, so
that the heretics might be frightened to conversion; it deprecated the
practice of seizing the property of suspects before their guilt was
determined; it ordered the bishops to provide prisons for coiners and
incorrigible clerks, without alluding to the imprisonment of heretics,
although Gregory, but a few weeks before, had specially ordered them to
employ perpetual incarceration in all cases of relapse; it endeavored to
maintain episcopal jurisdiction by enacting that inquisitors must obtain
letters from the bishop before exercising their powers in any diocese;
finally, it anticipated the resistance of Count Sayn and the other
inculpated nobles, by directing that if any magnate, relying upon the
strength of his castles and the support of his subjects, should refuse
to appear after three citations, his bishop should preach a crusade
against him with indulgences, and he should be manfully assailed.[378]

Thus, while ostensibly obeying the commands of the pope and emperor, the
action of the bishops was practically directed to limiting the powers of
the inquisitors. As for the threat of a crusade, its significance is
seen in the steps actually taken in the case of Count Sayn. That shrewd
noble saw that he could rely upon episcopal protection if he could
promise the bishops efficient support, and he had sufficient interest
with King Henry to induce him to join with Sigfried of Mainz in calling
a council for July 25, to consider his case. The king and his princes
attended the assembly as well as the prelates, so that it was rather an
imperial diet than an ecclesiastical council. The count asserted his
innocence and offered to prove it by conjurators. Conrad, who was
present, found his position suddenly changed. The assembly was, in
reality, a national protest against the supremacy of the papal
Inquisition, and the inquisitor, in place of being a judge armed with
absolute jurisdiction, was merely a prosecutor. He presented his
witnesses, but in that august presence the hearts of some of them
failed, and they withdrew; others felt emboldened to declare that they
had been forced to accuse the count in order to save their own lives,
and those who persisted were easily shown to be personal enemies of the
accused. The whole assemblage seemed inspired with a common desire to
put an end to Conrad’s arbitrary proceedings, and the prosecution broke
down totally. King Henry alone, perhaps already meditating his rebellion
against his father, and anxious not to offend either the nobles or the
papacy, desired to postpone the matter for further consideration. The
count pressed earnestly for immediate judgment, but the Archbishop of
Trèves interposed--“My lord, the king wishes the case postponed;” then
turning to the people, “I announce to you that Count Sayn departs from
here unconvicted, and as a good Catholic,” Master Conrad sullenly
muttered, “If he had been convicted it would have been different,” and
withdrew. The count finally agreed to allow the matter to be referred to
Rome, and ecclesiastics of distinction were appointed to lay the
proceedings before the Holy See for final decision.[379]

Maddened by his defeat, Conrad at once proceeded to preach in the
streets of Mainz a crusade against some nobles who had been summoned and
who had not appeared. To this both the archbishop and the king objected,
and he was forced to desist. With his usual impulsiveness he then
abruptly determined to quit an ungrateful world, and to live henceforth
in retirement at Marburg. The king and archbishop offered him an armed
escort, but he would accept nothing save letters of surety, and with
these he departed to meet his fate. Those against whom his crusade had
been preached lay in wait for him near Marburg and despatched him, July
31, regardless of his entreaties for mercy. His faithful follower, Friar
Gerhard, refused the opportunity offered him to escape, threw himself on
the body of his beloved master, and perished with him. The scene of the
murder is supposed to be Kappeln on the Lahnsberg, where a chapel was
erected to commemorate it. The body was carried to Marburg and buried by
the side of St. Elizabeth, and when the latter was translated to the
magnificent Elizabethskirche, his bones were likewise carried

The immediate reputation which Conrad left behind him is shown by the
vision, related by a contemporary, which indicated that he was
hopelessly damned. Modern ecclesiastics, however, take a more favorable
view of his career, and even the amiable Alban Butler describes him as a
virtuous and enlightened priest, who rendered great service by his
preaching, and whose fervor, disinterestedness, and love of poverty and
austerity rendered him a model for his contemporaries. Yet,
unaccountably, the Church has not yet proceeded to his vindication as a
martyred saint, and has neglected to place him alongside of those
kindred spirits, St. Peter Martyr and St. Pedro Arbues.[381]

With Conrad’s withdrawal from the Council of Mainz the proceedings of
which he had been the mainspring came to an end at once. “Thus,” says
a contemporary ecclesiastic, “ceased this storm, the most dangerous
persecution of the faithful since the days of Constantius the Heretic
and Julian the Apostate. People once more began to breathe. Count Sayn
was a wall for the mansion of the Lord, lest this madness should rage
further, enveloping guilty and innocent alike, bishops and princes,
religious and Catholics, like peasants and heretics.” The murderers
evidently felt that they had nothing to dread from public opinion, for
they voluntarily came forward and offered to submit themselves to the
judgment of the Church as regards the heresy whereof Conrad had accused
them, and to the secular tribunals as regards the homicide, agreeing to
present themselves for examination at a diet of the empire which was
ordered for February, 1234, at Frankfort.[382]

Gregory, who in June had been ordering a crusade preached against the
heretics, and had been stimulating prince and prelate to a yet more
ferocious persecution, was moved to regret when the envoy of the
assembly of Mainz, Conrad, the “Scholasticus” of Speier, presented
letters from the king and bishops describing the arbitrary methods of
his inquisitor. He ordered letters drawn up prescribing a more regular
form of trial for heretics; but before the envoy had permission to
depart, there arrived the originator of the trouble, Conrad Tors, with
the pitiful tale of the Master’s martyrdom. At this news the emotional
pope could not contain his wrath. The letters just written were recalled
and torn up, and the unlucky envoy was threatened with the deprivation
of all his benefices. Under the remonstrances of the Sacred College,
however, Gregory’s ire subsided sufficiently to allow him to renew the
letters and to enable the envoy to depart unscathed. The pope solaced
himself, however, with pouring out his grief at full length in letters
to the German prelates. The death of Conrad was a thunderclap which had
shaken the walls of the Christian sanctuary. No words were strong
enough to describe the transcendant merits and services of the martyr,
and no punishment could be invented too severe for the murderers. The
bishops were roundly rated for their indifference in the matter, and
were ordered to take immediate and effective measures. The Dominican
provincial, Conrad, was commanded, in conjunction with the bishops, to
carry on the Inquisition vigorously, and to preach a crusade against the

In spite of this furious grief and wrath the German prelates maintained
a most provoking calmness. The fanatic Conrad, Bishop of Hildesheim, it
is true, preached a crusade as ordered by the pope, and under his
impulsion the Landgrave, Conrad of Thuringia, zealously purged his land
of heretics, and completely destroyed all their assemblies, levelling to
the ground Willnsdorf, which was reckoned their chief abiding-place;
while his brother, Henry Raspe, and Hartmann, Count of Kiburg (Zurich),
took the cross under the same auspices, and received, in consequence,
papal protection for their dominions. Even this measure of activity,
however, was regarded unfavorably in Germany, and there was no response
to the cry for vengeance. The Diet of Frankfort duly assembled February
2, 1234, and the first business recorded was an accusation brought by
King Henry himself against the Bishop of Hildesheim for having preached
the crusade; it was treated as an offence, and though he was pardoned by
unanimous request, the recalcitrance against the papal tendencies was
none the less significant. Then the memory of the martyred Conrad was
arraigned, and this, as a matter of faith, was discussed by the
ecclesiastics separately. There were twenty-five archbishops and bishops
present, who were almost unanimous in condemning him, while the Bishop
of Hildesheim and a Dominican named Otto strenuously defended him. One
of the prelates exclaimed that Master Conrad ought to be dug up and
burned as a heretic; but no conclusion seems to have been reached, for
the proceedings were interrupted by the introduction of a procession of
those whom he had shaved in penance the preceding year, who marched in
with a cross at their head, and complained of his cruelty with dolorous
cries, when a tumult arose from which his defenders were glad to escape
with their lives. On the following Monday the solemn purgation of Count
Sayn took place in the field of judgment beyond the walls. Eight
bishops, twelve Cistercian and three Benedictine abbots, twelve
Franciscan and three Dominican friars, who, with many other clerks and
numerous nobles, took part in his oath of denial, show how emphatically
the German hierarchy desired to disclaim all sympathy with Conrad’s
acts. Count Solms, whom Conrad had forced to confession, went through
the same ceremony, declaring with tears in his eyes that the fear of
death alone had compelled him to admit himself guilty. The diet then
proceeded to legislate for the future, and its slender enunciation on
the subject of heresy can have carried little comfort to the wrathful
Gregory. It simply commanded that all who exercised judicial functions
should use every effort to purge the land of heresy, but at the same
time it cautioned them to prefer justice to unjust persecution.[384]

Two months later, April 2, 1234, a council was held at Mainz for final
action. Count Sayn and others who had been accused were subjected to a
form of examination, were declared innocent, and were restored to
reputation and to their possessions. Conrad’s unlucky witnesses who had
been forced to commit perjury were ordered to undergo a penance of seven
years; those who had accused the innocent were maliciously sent to the
pope for the imposition of penance, and he was, in the same spirit,
asked what should be done about those whom Conrad had unjustly burned.
As for the murderers, they were simply excommunicated.[385]

All this was a direct challenge to the Holy See, but Gregory prudently
delayed action. He was involved in troubles with the Romans which
rendered inadvisable any trial of strength with the united Teutonic
Church. He sent his penitentiary, Bernard, who made an investigation on
the spot, and, in conjunction with Archbishop Sigfried, furnished him
with a report to which we are indebted for most of our knowledge of the
affair. On receiving this, Gregory expressed his regret that he had
intrusted to Master Conrad the enormous powers which had led to a result
so lamentable. Still his decision was delayed. Towards the end of the
year 1234 he appealed earnestly to the German bishops for aid in his
quarrel with the Romans, which continued until he made peace with them
in April, 1235. His hands were now free, but it was not until July that
he trusted himself to express his indignation. Then he scolded most
vehemently the Council of Mainz for daring, in the absence of any
defenders of the faith, to absolve those whom Conrad had prosecuted, and
for sending to him for absolution the murderers, without having first
exacted of them full satisfaction for their detestable crime. His
sentence upon them is that they shall join the crusade to Palestine when
it sets sail the following March, giving good security to insure their
obedience, and meanwhile they shall visit all the greater churches in
the region of the crime, bare-footed and naked, except drawers, with a
halter around the neck, and a rod in the hand, and, when the affluence
of people is the greatest, cause themselves to be scourged by all the
priests, while they chant the penitential psalms, and publicly confess
their guilt. After this they may be absolved.[386]

It is satisfactory to know that the immediate author of the troubles met
with the fate which he deserved. Conrad Tors, on his return from Rome,
endeavored to resume his interrupted labors, but the temper of the
people had changed, and the victims were no longer unresisting. At
Strassburg he summoned the Junker Heinz von Müllenheim, who
unceremoniously settled the accusation by slaying him. His assistant,
the one-eyed John, met an even more ignominious fate, for he was
recognized at Freiburg and hanged.[387]

Thus ended this terrible drama, which left an impression of horror on
the souls of the German people not easily effaced. The number of
Conrad’s victims can only be guessed at. Some chroniclers vaguely speak
of them as innumerable, and one asserts that a thousand unfortunates
were burned. Although this is probably an exaggeration, for the period
of Conrad’s insane activity cannot have exceeded a twelvemonth, yet the
number must have been considerable to produce so profound an impression
on a generation which was by no means susceptible.[388]

One good result there undoubtedly was. The universal detestation excited
by Conrad’s crazy fanaticism rendered it comparatively easy for the
bishops to maintain the jurisdiction which they had assumed, and to keep
the Inquisition confined within narrow limits. For a time this was
doubtless facilitated by the open quarrels between Frederic II. and the
papacy, but even after his death, during the Great Interregnum and the
reigns of emperors who were more or less dependent upon the Holy See,
more than a century was to pass away before the popes, who were so
zealously organizing and strengthening it elsewhere, made a serious
effort to establish the Inquisition in Germany. We hear of no endeavors
on their part, we meet with no appointments or commissions of German
inquisitors. It seems to have been tacitly understood that the
institution was unfitted for German soil until a period when it had
fairly entered into decadence in the lands where its growth was the

The excitement of Conrad of Marburg’s exploits was naturally succeeded
by a reaction. In 1233 the murder of Bishop Berthold of Coire,
attributed to heretics, shows how far persecution spread, accompanied by
a dangerous tendency to resistance. Throughout 1234 both Dominicans and
Franciscans are reported as busy, with the result of numerous burnings;
but the lesson taught by the attitude of the German prelates was not
lost, and in 1235 the magistrates of Strassburg enjoined on them to seek
conversions by preaching, and not to burn people without at least giving
them a hearing. The languor and reaction continued. We have seen from
the complaints of the Count of Salins, in 1248, and the fruitless
efforts of Innocent IV. to establish the Inquisition in Besançon, that
the western borders of Germany were full of Waldenses who had little to
dread. At the same period there was a demonstration in the neighborhood
of Halle which may be reasonably regarded as Waldensian. The papacy had
succeeded in raising a rival to Frederic in the person of William of
Holland, and a crusade was on foot in his favor against Conrad,
Frederic’s son. The imperialists would naturally regard with favor the
Waldensian doctrines denying the power of the keys and the obedience due
to interdicts, and they might not object further to the tenet that
sinful priests cannot administer the sacraments. Such were the dogmas
attributed to the heretics of Halle, who came boldly forward in 1248,
were eagerly listened to by the nobles, and were favored by King Conrad,
but they speedily disappeared from sight in the changeful circumstances
of that tumultuous time.[389]

We have much more distinct indications of the existence both of heresy
and of the Inquisition in the writings of David of Augsburg, and of the
author now generally known as the Passauer Anonymus. The date of the
latter is not absolutely certain, but it cannot vary much from 1260. His
field of action was the extensive diocese of Passau, stretching from the
Iser to the Leitha, and from Bohemia to Styria, embracing eastern
Bavaria and northern Austria. His instructions seem to take for granted
the existence of an organized Inquisition with its fully developed code
of procedure, but his description of the prevalence of Waldensianism
would indicate that it was almost inoperative. He tells us that he had
often been concerned in the inquisition and examination of the
“schools,” or communities, of Waldenses, of which there were forty-one
in the diocese, ten of them being in the single town of Clamme, where
the heretics slew the parish priest without any one being punished for
it. There were also forty-one Waldensian churches, organized under a
bishop residing in Empenbach, and there was a school for lepers at
Newenhoffen. All this shows a prosperous growth of heresy little
disturbed by persecution. It is observable that the places enumerated as
the seats of these churches are mostly insignificant villages, the
larger towns appear to be avoided, and the heretics belong to the
humbler classes--mostly peasants and mechanics. Their wonderful
familiarity with Scripture and their self-devoted earnestness in making
converts have already been alluded to. From the writer’s long
description of the tenets of the Ordibarii and Ortlibenses it is evident
that they formed a fair proportion of the heretics with whom the
inquisitor had to deal, and their belief that the Day of Judgment would
come when the pope and the emperor should be converted to their sect,
indicates the hopefulness of a faith that is growing and spreading. Soon
afterwards we hear of Waldenses captured in the diocese of Ratisbon, and
their continued activity, in spite of persecution, through all the south
German regions.[390]

There was little on the part of the Inquisition or the bishops to
prevent the growth and spread of heresy. During the Interregnum, in
1261, a council of Mainz seems suddenly to have awakened to a sense of
neglected duty in the premises; it vigorously anathematized all heretics
after the fashion customary in the papal bulls, and it strictly
commanded the bishops of the province to labor zealously for the
extermination of heresy in their respective dioceses, enforcing, with
regard to the persons and property of heretics, the papal constitutions
and the statutes of a former provincial council. There is here no sign
of the existence of a papal Inquisition, and the episcopal activity
which was threatened appears to have lain dormant, though the action of
the council would seem to show that heretics were numerous enough to
attract attention. It is true that, in the chancery of Rodolph of
Hapsburg, whose reign extended from 1273 to 1292, there was a formula
for acknowledging and confirming the papal commissions presented by
inquisitors, showing that this must, at least occasionally, have been
done. The emperor calls God to witness that his chief object in
accepting the crown was to be able to defend the faith; he alludes to
the exercise of inquisitorial jurisdiction over the descendants of
heretics as well as over heretics themselves, but he carefully inserts a
saving clause to the effect that the accused must be legitimately
proved guilty and be properly condemned. If, however, inquisitors
presented themselves to obtain this recognition of their powers, they
have left no visible traces of the results of their activity.[391]

In the codes which embody the customs current in mediæval Germany there
is no recognition whatever of the existence of such a body as the
Inquisition. The Sachsenspiegel, which contains the municipal law of the
northern provinces, provides, it is true, the punishment of burning for
those convicted of unbelief, poisoning, or sorcery, but says nothing as
to the manner of trial; and the rule enunciated that no houses shall be
destroyed except when rape is committed in them, or a violated woman is
carried into them, shows that the demolition of the residences and
refuges of heretics was unknown within its jurisdiction. The code
throughout is singularly disregardful of ecclesiastical pretensions, and
richly earned the papal anathema bestowed upon it when its practical
working happened to attract the attention of the Roman curia.[392]

The Schwabenspiegel, or code in force in southern Germany, is much more
complaisant to the Church, but it knows of no jurisdiction over heretics
save that of the bishops. It admits that an emperor rendering himself
suspect in the faith can be put under ban by the pope. It provides death
by fire for the heretic. It directs that when heretics are known to
exist, the ecclesiastical courts shall inquire about them and proceed
against them. If convicted, the secular judge shall seize them and doom
them according to law. If he neglects or refuses he is to be
excommunicated by the bishop, and his suzerain shall inflict on him the
penalty of heresy. If a secular prince does not punish heresy he is to
be excommunicated by the episcopal court; if he remains under the
censure for a year the bishop is to report him to the pope, who shall
deprive him of his rank and honors, and the emperor is bound to execute
his sentence by stripping him of all his possessions, feudal and
allodial. All this shows ample readiness to accept the received
ecclesiastical law of the period as to heresy, but utter ignorance of
the inquisitorial process is revealed in the provision which inflicts
the _talio_ on whoever accuses another of certain crimes, including
heresy, without being able to convict him. When the accuser had to
accept the chances of the stake, prosecutions were not apt to be

       *       *       *       *       *

Towards the close of the thirteenth century and the opening of the
fourteenth, attention was aroused to the dangerous tendencies of certain
forms of belief lurking among some semi-religious bodies which had long
enjoyed the favor of the pious and the protection of the Church, known
by the names of Beguines, Beghards, Lollards, Cellites, etc. Infinite
learned trifling has been wasted in imagining derivations for these
appellations. The Beguines and Beghards themselves assert their descent
from St. Begga, mother of Pepin of Landen, who built a Benedictine
nunnery at Andennes. Another root has been sought in Lambert-le-Bègue,
or the Stammerer, a priest of St. Christopher at Liège, about 1180, who
became prominent by denouncing the simony of the canons of the
cathedral. Prebends were openly placed for sale in the hands of a
butcher named Udelin, who acted as broker, and when Lambert aroused the
people to a sense of this wickedness, the bishop arrested him as a
disturber, and the clergy assailed him and tore him with their nails.
His connection with the Beguines arose from his affording them shelter
in his house at St. Christopher, which has remained until modern times
the largest and richest Beguinage of the province. The soundest opinion,
however, would seem to be that both Beghard and Beguine are derived from
the old German word _beggan_, signifying either to beg or to pray, while
Lollard is traced to _lullen_, to mutter prayers.[394]

The motives were numerous which impelled multitudes to desire a
religious life without assuming the awful and irrevocable vows that cut
them off absolutely from the world. This was especially the case among
women who chanced to be deprived of their natural guardians and who
sought in those wild ages the protection which the Church alone could
confer. Thus associations were formed, originally of women, who simply
promised chastity and obedience while they lived in common, who assisted
either by labor or beggary in providing for the common support, who were
assiduous in their religious observances, and who performed such duties
of hospitality and of caring for the sick as their opportunities would
allow. The Netherlands were the native seat of this fruitful idea, and
as early as 1065 there is a charter extant given by a convent of
Beguines at Vilvorde, near Brussels. The drain of the crusades on the
male population increased enormously the number of women deprived of
support and protection, and gave a corresponding stimulus to the growth
of the Beguinages. In time men came to form similar associations, and
soon Germany, France, and Italy became filled with them. To this
contributed in no small degree the insane laudation of poverty by the
Franciscans and the merit conceded to a life of beggary by the immense
popularity of the Mendicant Orders. To earn a livelihood by beggary was
in itself an approach to sanctity, as we have seen in the case of Conrad
of Marburg and St. Elizabeth. About 1230 a certain Willem Cornelis, of
Antwerp, gave up a prebend and devoted himself to teaching the
pre-eminent virtue of poverty. He carried the received doctrine on the
subject, however, to lengths too extravagant, for he held that poverty
consumed all sin, as fire ate up rust, and that a harlot, if poor, was
better than a just and continent rich man; and though he was honorably
buried in the church of the Virgin Mary, yet when, four years later,
these opinions came to be known, Bishop Nicholas of Cambrai caused his
bones to be exhumed and burned.[395]

Extremes such as this show us the prevailing tendencies of the age, and
it is necessary to appreciate these tendencies in order to understand
how Europe came to tolerate the hordes of holy beggars, either wandering
or living in communities, who covered the face of the land, and drained
the people of their substance. Of the two classes the wanderers were the
most dangerous, but in both there was the germ of future trouble,
although the settled Beguines approached very nearly the Tertiaries of
the Mendicants. Indeed, they frequently placed themselves under the
direction of Dominicans or Franciscans, and eventually those who
survived the vicissitudes of persecution mostly merged into the
Tertiaries of either one Order or the other.

The rapid growth of these communities in the thirteenth century is
easily explicable. Not only did they respond to the spiritual demands of
the age, but they enjoyed the most exalted patronage. In Flanders the
counts seem never wearied of assisting them. Gregory IX. and his
successors took their institution under the special protection of the
Holy See. St. Louis provided them with houses in Paris and other cities,
and left them abundant legacies in his will, in which he was imitated by
his sons. Under such encouragement their numbers increased enormously.
In Paris there were multitudes. About 1240 they were estimated at two
thousand in Cologne and its vicinity, and there were as many in the
single Beguinageof Nivelle, in Brabant. Philippe de Montmirail, a pious
knight who devoted himself to good works, is said to have been
instrumental in providing for five thousand Beguines throughout Europe.
The great Beguinage of Ghent, founded in 1234, by the Countesses of
Flanders, Jeanne and Marguerite, is described in the seventeenth century
as resembling a small town, surrounded with wall and fosse, containing
open squares, conventual houses, dwellings, infirmary, church, and
cemetery, inhabited by eight hundred or a thousand women, the younger
living in the convents, the older in separate houses. They were tied by
no permanent vows and were free to depart and marry at any time, but so
long as they were inmates they were bound to obey the Grand Mistress.
The guardianship of the establishment was hereditary in the House of
Flanders, and it was under the supervision of the Dominican prior of
Ghent. How large was the space that Beguinism occupied in public
estimation in the thirteenth century is shown by Philippe Mousket, who
calls Conrad of Marburg a Beguine, “_uns bégins mestre

Those who thus lived in communities could be subjected to wholesome
supervision and established rules, but it was otherwise with those who
maintained an independent existence, either in one spot or wandering
from place to place, sometimes supporting themselves by labor, but more
frequently by beggary. Their customary persistent cry through the
streets--“_Brod durch Gott_”--became a shibboleth unpleasantly familiar
to the inhabitants of the German cities, which the Church repeatedly and
ineffectually endeavored to suppress. A circumstance occurring about
1240 illustrates their reputation for superior sanctity and the
advantages derivable from it. A certain Sibylla of Marsal near Metz, we
are told, seeing how many women under the name of Beguines flourished in
the appearance of religion, and under the guidance of the Dominicans,
thought fit to imitate them. Assiduous attendance at matins and mass
gained her the repute of peculiar holiness. Then she pretended to fast
and live on celestial food, she had ecstasies and visions, and deceived
the whole region, not excepting the Bishop of Metz himself. The Beguines
who had hailed her as a saintly sister were excessively mortified when
an accident revealed the imposture; the people were so enraged that some
wanted to burn her and others to bury her alive, but the bishop shut her
up in a convent, _in pace_, where, naturally enough, she soon died.[397]

The Church was not long in recognizing the danger inherent in these
practices when withdrawn from close supervision. On the one hand there
was simulated piety, like that of Sibylla of Marsal, on the other the
far more serious opportunity of indulgence in unlawful speculation. In
1250 and the following years the Beguines of Cologne repeatedly sought
the protection of papal legates against the oppression of both clergy
and laity. Already, in 1259, a council of Mainz strongly reproved the
pestiferous sect of Beghards and Beguttæ (Beguines), who wandered
through the streets crying ”_Broth durch Gott_,” preaching in caverns
and other secret places, and given to various practices disapproved by
the Church. All priests were ordered to warn them to abandon these
customs, and to expel from their parishes those who were obstinate. In
1267 the Council of Trèves forbade their preaching in the streets on
account of the heresies which they disseminated. In 1287 a council of
Liège deprived all who did not live in the Beguinages of the right to
wear the peculiar habit and enjoy the privileges of Beguines. In Suabia,
about the same period, some members of communities of Beghards and
Beguines sought to persuade the rest that they could better serve God
“in freedom of spirit,” when the bishops proceeded to abolish all such
associations, and some of them asked to adopt the rule of St.

All this points to the adoption, by the followers of Ortlieb, who called
themselves Brethren of the Free Spirit, of the habit and appellation of
the Beghards and Beguines, and the gradual invasion among the latter of
the doctrines derived from Amaury. Comparatively few of the Lollards,
Beghards, or Beguines were contaminated with these heresies, but they
all had to share the responsibility, and the communities of both sexes,
who led the most regular lives and were inspired with the purest
orthodoxy, were exposed to unnumbered tribulations for lack of a
distinctive appellation. When heretics regarded as peculiarly obnoxious
were anathematized as Beghards and Beguines, it was impossible for those
who bore the name, without sharing the errors, to escape the common
responsibility. It became even worse when John XXII. plunged into a
quarrel with the Spiritual Franciscans, drove them into open rebellion,
and persecuted the new heresy which he had thus created with all the
unsparing wrath of his vindictive nature. In France the Tertiary
Franciscans were popularly known as Beguines, and this became the
appellation customarily bestowed on these Spiritual heretics, and
adopted by the Avignonese popes to designate them. Not only has this led
to much confusion on the part of heresiologists, but its effect, for a
time, on the fortunes of the virtuous and orthodox Beguines of both
sexes was most disastrous. The heretic Beghards, it is true, adopted for
themselves the title of Brethren of the Free Spirit; the rebellious
Franciscans insisted that they were the only legitimate representatives
of the Order, and, at most, assumed the term of Spirituals, in order to
distinguish themselves from their carnal-minded conventual brethren; but
the authorities were long in admitting these distinctions, and, in the
eyes of the Church at large, the condemnation of Beghards and Beguines
covered all alike.

We have here to do only with the Brethren of the Free Spirit, whose
doctrines, as we have seen, were derived from the speculations of the
Amaurians carried to Germany by Ortlieb of Strassburg. Descriptions of
their errors have reached us from so many sources, covering so long a
period, with so general a consensus in fundamentals, that there can be
little doubt as to the main principles of their faith. In a sect
extending over so wide a reach of territory, and stubbornly maintaining
itself through so many generations, there must necessarily have existed
subdivisions, as one heresiarch or another pushed his speculations in
some direction further than his fellows, and founded a special school
whose aberrations there was no central authority to control. Many of
the peculiarly repulsive extravagances attributed to them, however, may
safely be ascribed to keen-witted schoolmen engaged in trying individual
heretics, and forcing them to admit consequences logically but
unexpectedly deduced from their admitted premises. There was no little
intellectual activity in the sect, and their tracts and books of
devotion, written in the vernacular, were widely distributed, and
largely relied upon as means of missionary effort. These, of course,
have wholly disappeared, and we are left to gather their doctrines from
the condemnations passed upon them.

The foundation of their creed was pantheism. God is everything that is.
There is as much of the divinity in a louse as in a man or in any other
creature. All emanates from him and returns to him. As the soul thus
reverts to God after death, there is neither purgatory nor hell, and all
external cult is useless. Thus at one blow was destroyed the efficacy of
all sacerdotal observances and of the sacraments. Of the latter, indeed,
no terms were severe enough to express their contempt, and they were
sometimes in the habit of saying that the Eucharist tasted to them like
dung. Man being thus God by nature, has in him all that is divine, and
each one may say that he himself created the universe. One of the
accusations brought against Master Eckart was that he had declared that
his little finger created the world. Nay, more, man can so unite himself
with God that he can do whatever God does; he thus needs no God; he is
impeccable, and whatever he does is without sin. In this state of
perfection he grieves at nothing, he rejoices at nothing, he is free
from all virtue and all virtuous actions. No one is bound to labor for
his bread; as all things are in common, each one may take what his
necessities or desires may prompt.[399]

The practical deductions from these doctrines were not only destructive
to the Church, but dangerous to the moral and social order. The lofty
mysticism of the teachers might preserve them from the evil results
which flowed from the presumption of impeccability. In their austere
stoicism they condemned all sexual indulgence save that of which the
sole object was the procurement of offspring. They taught that a woman
in marrying should deeply deplore the loss of her virginity, and that no
one was perfect in whom promiscuous nakedness could awaken either shame
or passion. That tests of this kind were not infrequent, the history of
ill-regulated enthusiasm, from the time of the early Christians, will
not permit us to doubt, and the Beghards succeeded so well in subduing
the senses that a hostile controversialist can only suggest Satanic
influence, well known to demonologists for its refrigerating power, as
an explanation of their wonderful self-control under such temptation.
Yet this rare exaltation of austerity was not possible to all natures.
It was easy for him who had not risen superior to the allurements of the
senses to imagine himself perfected, impeccable, and entitled to gratify
his passions. St. Paul, in arguing against the bondage of the Old Law,
had furnished texts which, when cited apart from their contexts, could
be and were alleged in justification: “For the law of the spirit of
life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death”
(Rom. VIII. 2)--“The law is not made for a righteous man” (1 Tim. I.
9)--“But if ye be led of the Spirit ye are not under the law” (Galat.
V. 18)--and the Brethren of the Free Spirit claimed freedom from all the
trammels of the law. Such a doctrine was attractive to those who desired
excuse and opportunity for license, and the evidence is too abundant and
confirmatory for us to doubt that, at least in some cases, the sectaries
abandoned themselves to the grossest sensuality. It is noteworthy that,
in order to describe the divine internal light which they enjoyed, they
invented for themselves the term Illuminism, which for more than three
centuries continued to be of most serious import.[400]

As a branch of the sect may be reckoned the Luciferans, who have been
repeatedly alluded to above. Pantheism, of course, included Satan as an
emanation from God, who in due time would be restored to union with the
Godhead, and it was not difficult to assume that his fallen state was an
injustice. In 1312 Luciferans were discovered at Krems, in the diocese
of Passau, whose bishop, Bernhard, together with Conrad, Archbishop of
Salzburg, and Frederic, Duke of Austria, undertook their extirpation
with the aid of the Dominican Inquisition, which seems to have
maintained some foothold in those regions. The persecution lasted until
1315, but the sect was not exterminated, and reappeared repeatedly in
after-years. It is reported to have been thoroughly organized, with
twelve “apostles” who travelled annually throughout Germany, making
converts and confirming the believers in the faith. All the ceremonies
of external worship were rejected, but they did not enjoy the
impeccability of Illuminism, for two of their ministers were held to
enter paradise every year, where they received from Enoch and Elias the
power of absolving their followers, and this power they communicated to
others in each community. Those who were detected proved obdurate; they
were deaf to all persuasion, and met their death in the flames with the
utmost cheerfulness. One of the apostles, who was burned at Vienna,
stated, under torture, that there were eight thousand of them scattered
throughout Bohemia, Austria, and Thuringia, besides numbers elsewhere.
Bohemia was especially infected with these errors, and Trithemius, in
the opening years of the sixteenth century, states that there were still
thousands of them in that kingdom. This is doubtless an exaggeration, if
not a complete mistake, but they were again discovered in Austria in
1338 and 1395, and many of them were burned.[401]

The tendency to mysticism which found its complete expression in the
Brethren of the Free Spirit influenced greatly the development of German
religious thought in channels which, although assumedly orthodox,
trenched narrowly upon heresy. If, as Altmeyer argues, a period of
tribulation leads to the predominance of sentiment over intellect, to
the yearning for direct intercourse between the soul and the Divine
Essence, which is the supreme aim of the mystic, the Germany of the
fourteenth century had troubles enough to justify the development of
mysticism. Yet it is rather a question of the mental characteristics of
a race than of external circumstances. Bonaventura was the father of the
mystics, yet he founded no sect at home; France, in the hundred years’
war with England, had ample experience of trial, and yet mysticism never
flourished on her soil. In Germany, however, the mystic tendency of
religious sentiment during the fourteenth century is the most marked
spiritual phenomenon of the period. Few names in the first quarter of
the century were more respected than that of Master Eckart, who stood
high in the ranks of the great Dominican Order. I have already (Vol. I.,
p. 360) related how he fell under suspicion of participating in the
errors of the Beghards, how his brethren vainly strove to save him, and
how the Archbishop of Cologne won a decided victory over the feeble and
unorganized Dominican Inquisition by vindicating the subjection of a
Dominican to his episcopal Inquisition. If the twenty-eight articles
finally condemned by John XXII. as heretical be correctly extracted from
Eckart’s teachings, there can be no doubt that he was deeply infected
with the pantheistic speculations of the Brethren of the Free Spirit,
that he admitted the common divinity of man and God, and shared in the
dangerous deductions which proved that sin and virtue were the same in
the eyes of God. To a hierarchy founded on sacerdotalism, moreover,
nothing could be more revolutionary than the rejection of external cult,
which was the necessary conclusion from the doctrine that there is no
virtue in external acts, but that only the internal operations of the
soul are of moment; that no man should regret the commission of sin, or
ask anything of God.[402]

The importance of Eckart’s views lies not so much in his own immediate
influence as in that of his disciples. He was the founder of the school
of German mystics, through whom the speculations of Amauri of Bene, in
various dilutions, made a deep impression on the religious development
of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. All the leaders in the
remarkable association known as the “Friends of God” drew, directly or
indirectly, their inspiration from Master Eckart, and all, to a greater
or less extent, reveal their affinity to the Brethren of the Free
Spirit, although they succeeded in keeping technically within the limits
of orthodoxy.

John of Rysbroek, humane and gentle as he was, regarded the Brethren of
the Free Spirit with such horror that he deemed them worthy of the
stake. Yet, though he avoided their pantheism, he taught, like them, the
supreme end of existence in the absorption of the individual into the
infinite substance of God; moreover, the Perfect, inflamed by divine
love, are dead to themselves and to the world, and are thus incapable of
sin. It is no wonder that Gerson regarded as dangerous these doctrines,
so nearly akin to those of the Beghards, and though Rysbroek might
hesitate to draw from them the conclusions inevitable to hardier
thinkers, they were sufficient to render unsuccessful the attempt made,
in 1624, to canonize him, in spite of the incontestable miracles wrought
at his tomb. His most distinguished disciple was Gerard Groot, who
partially outgrew the metaphysical subtleties of his teacher and turned
his energies to the more practical directions out of which sprang the
Brethren of the Common Life. Groot was equally severe upon the
corruption of the clergy and the errors of the heretics. When the
introduction of the Inquisition into Germany drove the Brethren of the
Free Spirit to find new places of refuge, some of them came to Holland,
where the prevalence of pantheistic mysticism gave opportunity of
spreading their doctrines. Groot’s own views sufficiently resembled
theirs to render their bolder speculations doubly offensive to him, and
he sought to repress them with especial zeal. The convent of Augustinian
Hermits at Dordrecht had the reputation of being tainted with the
heresy, and Groot was eager to detect and punish it. Bartholomew, one of
the Augustinians, was particularly suspected, and Groot proposed to
follow him secretly with a notary and take down his words. In this, or
some other way, evidence was obtained; there was no Inquisition in
Holland, and Groot procured his citation before Florent, Bishop of
Utrecht, about the year 1380. The case was beard before the episcopal
vicar; Bartholomew denied the expressions attributed to him and was let
off with an injunction to publicly repeat the denial in Kampen and
Zwolle, where he was said to have uttered his heresies. This unexpected
lenity excited the indignation of Groot, who had sufficient influence to
induce Bishop Florent to take up the case again and try it personally.
Bartholomew endeavored to escape his persecutor by appearing a day in
advance of the one set for his trial, but word was sent to Groot, who
threw himself into a wagon, and by travelling all night reached Utrecht
in time. On this occasion he was successful; Bartholomew was condemned
as a heretic, abjured, and was sentenced to wear crosses in the form of
scissors. The Augustinians did not lack friends, and they retaliated on
those who had busied themselves in the matter. The magistrates of Kampen
prosecuted some women who had served as witnesses and fined them, and
they also banished for ten years Werner Keynkamp, a friend of Groot, who
subsequently was thrice prior of houses of Brethren of the Common Life.
Groot himself did not escape, for soon afterwards Bishop Florent, for
the purpose of silencing him, issued an order withdrawing all
commissions to preach. Groot then endeavored to procure from Urban VI.
papal commissions as preacher and inquisitor, and sent to Rome ten
florins to pay for the bulls. Fortunately for his fame, he died, in
1384, before the return of his messenger, and Holland was spared the
effects of his inconsiderate zeal, inflamed by strife and armed with the
irresponsible power of the Inquisition. In his gentler capacity he left
his mantle to Florent Radewyns, under whom were developed the
communities of the Common Life. These spread rapidly throughout the
Netherlands and Germany, and though occasionally the subject of
inquisitorial persecution, they were covered by the decision of Martin
V., when Matthew Grabon, at the Council of Constance, endeavored to
procure the condemnation of the Beguines, of which more anon. After this
they flourished without opposition, supporting themselves by
disseminating culture, as educators and copiers of manuscripts. After
the Reformation the communities rapidly died out, although the house of
Emmerich, near Düsseldorf, remained to be closed by Napoleon, in 1811,
and the four brethren then ejected from it continued to observe the
rules, till the last one, Gerard Mulder, died at Zevenaar, March 15,
1854. One branch of the brethren, however, adopted the Rule of the
canons-regular of St. Augustin. Their convent of Windesheim became the
model which was universally followed, and the order had the honor of
training two such men as Thomas-à-Kempis and Erasmus. The Imitation of
Christ is the final exquisite flower of the moderated mysticism of John
of Rysbroek. Brought down to practical life, this mysticism contributed
largely to the spiritual movement which culminated in the Reformation,
for it taught the superfluity of external works and the dependence of
the individual on himself alone for salvation. In this the Brethren of
the Common Life were active. To them dogma became less important than
the interior discipline which should fit men to be really children of
God. Preaching among the people and teaching in the schools, such
brethren as Henry Harphius, John Brugman, Denis Van Leeuwen, Jon Van
Goch, and John Wessel of Groningen, were unwittingly undermining the
power of the hierarchy, although they virtually escaped all imputation
of heresy and danger of persecution.[403]

Less lasting, though more noticeable at the time, was the association of
Friends of God, which formed itself in the upper Rhinelands. The most
prominent disciple of Master Eckart was John Tauler, who retained enough
of his master’s doctrines to render him amenable to the charge of heresy
had there been in those days a German Inquisition in working order. That
he escaped prosecution is the most conclusive evidence that the
machinery of persecution was thoroughly out of gear. In the heights of
his illuminated quietism all the personality of the devotee was lost in
the abyss of Divinity. No human tongue could describe the resignation to
God in which the whole being is merged so that it lost all sense of
power of its own. No priestly ministrant or mediator was required. The
individual could bring his soul into relations with the Godhead so
intimate that it was virtually lost in the Divine Essence, and he could
become so thoroughly under the influence of the Holy Ghost that he was,
so to speak, inspired, and his acts were the acts of the Third Person
of the Trinity. All this was possible for the layman without sacerdotal
observance. Man was answerable for himself to himself alone, and could
make himself at one with God without the intervention of the

Great as was Tauler’s renown as the foremost preacher of his day, he
bowed as a little child before the mysterious layman known as the Friend
of God in the Oberland. In the full strength of mature manhood, when at
least fifty years of age and when all Strassburg was hanging on his
words, a stranger sought his presence and probed to the bottom his
secret weaknesses. He was a Pharisee, proud of his learning and his
skill in scholastic theology; before he could be fit for the guidance of
souls he must cast off all reliance on his own strength and become as an
infant relying on God alone. Overcome by the mystic power of his
visitor, the doctor of theology subdued his pride, and in obedience to
the command of the stranger, who never revealed his name, Tauler for two
years abstained from preaching and from hearing confessions. From this
struggle with himself he emerged a new man, and formed one of the
remarkable band of Friends of God whom the nameless stranger was engaged
in selecting and uniting.[405]

This association was not numerous, for only rare souls could rise to the
altitude in which they would surely wish only what God wishes and
dislike what God dislikes; but its adepts were scattered from the
Netherlands to Genoa, and from the Rhinelands to Hungary. Terrible were
the struggles and spiritual conflicts, the alternations of hope and
despair, of ravishing ecstasies and hideous temptations, with which God
tried the neophyte who sought to ascend into the serene atmosphere of
mystic illuminism--struggles and conflicts which form a strangely
resembling prototype of those which for long years tested the
steadfastness of John Bunyan. When at length the initiation was safely
endured, God drew them to him, he illuminated their souls so that they
became one with him; they were gods by grace, even as he is God by
nature. Then they were in a condition of absolute sinlessness, and could
enjoy the assurance that it would continue during life, so that at death
they would ascend at once to heaven with no preliminary purgatory.[406]

In many of their tenets and practices there is a strange reverberation
of Hinduism, all the stranger that there can be no possible connection
between them, unless perchance there may be some elements derived from
mystic Arabic Aristotelianism, which so strongly influenced scholastic
thought.[407] As the old Brahmanic _tapas_, or austere meditation,
enabled man to acquire a share of the divine nature, so the interior
exercises of the Friends of God assimilated man to the Divinity, and the
miraculous powers which they acquired find their prototypes in the
Rishis and Rahats. The self-inflicted barbarities of the Yoga system
were emulated in the efforts necessary to subdue the rebellious flesh;
Rulman Merswin, for instance, used to scourge himself with wires and
then rub salt into the wounds. The religious ecstasies of the Friends of
God were the counterpart of the Samadhi or beatific insensibility of the
Hindu; and the supreme good which they set before themselves was the
same as that of the Sankhya school--the renunciation of the will and the
freedom from all passions and desires, even that of salvation. Yet these
resemblances were modified by the Christian sense of the omnipotence and
omnipresence of God, and by the more practical character of the Western
mind, which did not send its votaries into the jungle and forest, but
ordered them, if laymen, to continue their worldly life; if rich, they
were not to despoil themselves, but to employ their riches in good
works, and to discharge their duties to man as well as to God. Rulman
Merswin was a banker, and continued in active business while founding
the community of the Grün Wöhrd and writing the treatises which were the
support and the comfort of the faithful. Yet the chief of them all and
his immediate disciples founded a hermitage in the wilderness, where
they devoted themselves to propitiating the wrath of God. The
unutterable wickedness of man called for divine vengeance. Earthquakes,
pestilence, famine, had been disregarded warnings, and only the
intercession of the Friends of God had obtained repeated reprieves. The
Great Schism, in 1378, was a new and still greater calamity, and in 1379
an angel messenger informed them that the final punishment was postponed
for a year, after which they must not ask for further delay. Still, in
1380, thirteen of them were mysteriously called to assemble in a
“divine diet,” to which an angel brought a letter informing them that,
at the prayer of the Virgin, God had granted a respite of three years
provided they would constitute themselves “prisoners of God,” living
the life of recluses in absolute silence, broken only two days in the
week from noon to eve, and then only to ask for necessaries or to give
spiritual counsel. To this they assented, and not long afterwards they
disappear from view.[408]

The Friends of God are noteworthy not only as a significant development
of the spiritual tendencies of the age, but they have a peculiar
interest for us from their relations with the Church on the one hand and
with the Brethren of the Free Spirit on the other. They were an
outgrowth of the latter, though they avoided the deplorable moral
extravagances of the parent sect. The “Ninth Rock,” which was the
supreme height of ascetic illuminism of the Beghards, reappears in the
same sense in the most notable of Rulman Merswin’s works, attributed
until recently to Henry Suso. It is no wonder that Nider confounded the
Friends of God with the Beghards, though Merswin’s “Baner Buechelin”
was written for the purpose of denouncing the errors of the latter. In
much, as we have seen, they differed from the current doctrines of the
Church, carrying their aberrations further than those which in the
seventeenth century were so severely repressed in Molinos and the
Illuminati. To these they added special errors of their own. Many Jews
and Moslems, they said, were saved, for God abandons none who seek him,
and though they cannot enjoy Christian baptism, God himself baptizes
them spiritually in the sufferings of the death-agony. In the same
spirit they refused to denounce the heretic to human justice for fear of
anticipating divine justice; they could tolerate him in the world as
long as God saw fit to do so. Yet they had one saving principle which
preserved them from the temporal and spiritual consequences of their
errors, giving us a valuable insight into the relations between the
Church and heresy. While denouncing in the strongest language the
corruptions and worldliness of the establishment, they professed the
most implicit obedience to Rome, and much could be overlooked or
pardoned so long as the supremacy of the Holy See was not called in
question. When, in June, 1377, the Friend of God in the Oberland was
inspired to visit, with a comrade, Gregory XI., and warn him of the
dangers which threatened Christendom, they spoke to him with the utmost
freedom, and though he at first was angered, he finally recognized in
them the envoys of the Holy Ghost and honored them greatly, urging them
to resume their abandoned design of founding a great institution of
their order. Gregory was relentless in the extermination of Waldenses,
Beghards, and the remnants of the Cathari, but he saw nothing to object
to in the mysticism and illuminism of his visitors. He did not even take
offence when they threatened him with death within the twelvemonth if he
did not reform the Church. In effect he died March 28, 1378; but, if we
may believe Gerson, his dying regrets were not that he had neglected
these warnings, but that by too credulously listening to the visions of
male and female prophets he had paved the way for the Great Schism,
which he foresaw would break out when he was removed from the

After this hasty review of the more orthodox developments of mysticism
we may return to the history of the Brethren of the Free Spirit, who
maintained the pantheistic doctrine in all its crudity, and did not
shrink from its legitimate deductions. Towards the close of the
thirteenth century the transcendent merits of beggary, so long
acknowledged, began to be questioned. In 1274 the Council of Lyons
endeavored to suppress the unauthorized mendicant associations. In 1286
Honorius IV. condemned the Segarellists, and some ten years later the
persecution, by Boniface VIII., of the Celestines and stricter
Franciscans showed that poverty was no longer to be regarded as the
supreme virtue. About the same time he issued a bull ordering the active
persecution of some heretics, whose teaching that perfection required
men and women to go naked and not to labor with the hands would seem to
identify them with the Brethren of the Free Spirit. The same feeling
manifested itself contemporaneously in Germany. The first instance of
actual persecution recorded is a curt notice that, in 1290, the
Franciscan lector at Colmar caused to be arrested two Beghards and two
Beguines, and several others at Basle whom he considered to be heretics.
Two years later the Provincial Council of Mainz, held at Aschaffenburg,
emphatically repeated the condemnation of the Beghards and Beguines,
expressed by the previous council of 1259, and this was again repeated
by another council of Mainz in 1310, while other canons regulating the
recognized communities of Beguines show that the distinction was clearly
drawn between those who led a settled life under supervision and the
wandering beggars who preached in caverns and disseminated doctrines
little understood, but regarded with suspicion.[410]

It was Henry von Virnenburg, Archbishop of Cologne, however, who
commenced the war against them which was to last so long. Elected in
1306, he immediately assembled a provincial council, of which the first
two canons are devoted to them with an amplitude proving how important
they were becoming. They wore a long tabard and tunics with cowls
distinguishing them from the people at large; they had the hardihood to
engage in public disputation with the Franciscans and Dominicans, and
the obstinacy to refuse to be overcome in argument, and, what was worse,
their persistent beggary was so successful that it sensibly diminished
the alms which were the support of the authorized Mendicants. All this
shows the absence of any papal inquisition and an enjoyment of practical
toleration unknown outside of the boundaries of Germany, but it may be
assumed that the Beghards did not publicly reveal their more dangerous
and repulsive doctrines, for the enumeration of their errors by the
council presents them in a very moderate form. Still, the archbishop
pronounced them excommunicated heretics, to be suppressed by the secular
arm unless they recanted within fifteen days. A month was given them to
abandon their garments and mode of life, after which they were to earn
their bread by honest labor. This was well-intentioned legislation, but
it seems to have remained wholly inoperative. The Beghards continued to
assail the Mendicants with such ardor and success that the Franciscans,
who were crippled by the death of their lector in 1305, applied for
succor to their general, Gonsalvo. The necessity must have been
pressing, for in 1308 he sent to their assistance the greatest schoolman
of the Order, Duns Scotus. He was received with the enthusiasm which his
eminence merited, but, unfortunately, he died in November of the same
year, and the Beghards were able to continue their proselytism without
efficient opposition.[411]

About this time their missionary labors seem to have become particularly
active and to have attracted wide attention. We have seen how, in 1310,
the Beguine, Marguerite Porete of Hainault, was burned in Paris, and
bore her martyrdom with unshrinking firmness. In the same year occurred
the Council of Mainz already referred to, and also a council of Trèves,
in which their unauthorized exposition of Scripture was denounced, and
all parish priests were required to summon them to abandon their evil
ways within a fortnight, under pain of excommunication. In 1309 we hear
of certain wandering hypocrites called Lollards, who, throughout
Hainault and Brabant, had considerable success in obtaining converts
among noble ladies.[412]

This missionary fervor seems to have attracted attention to the sect,
leading to special condemnation under the authority of the General
Council of Vienne, which was assembled in November, 1311. The heresy had
evidently been studied with some care, for the first tolerably complete
account which we have of its doctrines is embodied in the canon
proscribing it. Bishops and inquisitors were ordered to perform their
office diligently in tracking all who entertained it, and seeing that
they were duly punished unless they would freely abjure. Unfortunately,
Clement’s zeal was not satisfied with this. The pious women who lived in
communities under the name of Beguines were not easily distinguishable
from the heretical wanderers. In another canon, therefore, the
Beguinages are described as infected with those who dispute about the
Trinity and the Divine Essence and disseminate opinions contrary to the
faith. These establishments are therefore abolished. At the same time
there was evidently a feeling that this was inflicting a wrong, and the
canon ends with the contradictory declaration that faithful women,
either vowing chastity or not, may live together in houses and devote
themselves to penitence and the service of God. There was a lamentable
lack of clearness about this which left it for the local prelates to
interpret their duty according to their wishes.[413]

The Clementines, or book of canon law containing these provisions, was
not issued during Clement’s life, and it was not until November, 1317,
that his successor, John XXII., gave them legal force by their
authoritative publication. Apparently the bishops waited for this, for
during the interim we hear nothing of persecution, until August, 1317,
just before the issue of the Clementines, when John of Zurich, Bishop of
Strassburg, suddenly took the matter up. He did not act under the canons
of Vienne, but under those of 1310 adopted by the Council of Mainz, of
which province he was a suffragan; but an allusion to the penalties
decreed by the Holy See shows that the action at Vienne was known. The
Beghards apparently had sought no concealment, for he threatened with
excommunication all who should not within three days lay aside the
distinguishing garments of the sect, and their fearless publicity is
further shown by the bishop’s confiscating the houses in which their
assemblies were held, and forbidding any one to read or listen to or
possess their hymns and writings, which were to be delivered up for
burning within fifteen days. The fact that among them were many clerks
in holy orders, monks, married folks, and others, shows that their
opinions were widely held among those who were not mere wandering
beggars--the latter probably being merely the missionaries who made
converts and administered to the spiritual needs of the faithful. John
of Zurich was not content with merely threatening. He made a visitation
of his diocese, in which he found many of the sectaries. He organized an
Inquisition of learned theologians, by whom they were tried; those who
recanted were sentenced to wear crosses--the first authentic record in
Germany of the use of this penance, so long since established
elsewhere--and those who were obstinate he handed over to the secular
arm to be burned. These active proceedings may be regarded as the first
regular exercise of the episcopal Inquisition on German soil. Multitudes
of Beghards fled from the diocese, and in June, 1318, the bishop had the
satisfaction of reporting his success to his fellow-suffragans and
urging them to follow his example. Yet this persecution, if sharp, was
transitory, for in 1319 we find him again issuing letters to his clergy,
saying that the Clementines had been enforced elsewhere, but not in the
diocese of Strassburg. All incumbents are ordered, under pain of
suspension, to require the Beguines to lay aside their vestments within
fifteen days and to conform to the usages of the Church. If any refuse,
the inquisitors will be instructed to inquire into their faith.[414]

Meanwhile the publication of the Clementines had produced results not
corresponding exactly to the intentions of Clement. The canon directed
against the heretics received little attention, and five years elapse
before we hear of any serious persecutions under it. The heretics were
poor; there were no spoils to tempt episcopal officials to the thankless
labor of tracking them and trying them, and few of the bishops had the
zeal of John of Zurich to divert them from their temporal cares and
pleasures. The Beguinages, however, were an easy prey; there was
property to be confiscated in reward of intelligent activity. Besides,
many of the establishments were under the supervision of the Mendicant
Orders, and were virtually or absolutely Tertiary houses, the
destruction of which gratified the inextinguishable jealousy between the
secular clergy and the Orders; the struggle between John XXII. and the
Franciscans, moreover, was commencing, and the Tertiaries of the latter,
who were popularly known as Beguines in France, were fair game. The
bishops for the most part, therefore, neglected the saving clause of the
canon respecting the Beguinages, and construed literally and pitilessly
the orders for their abolition. So eager were they to gratify their
vindictiveness against the Mendicants that, when these interfered to
save their Tertiaries, they were excommunicated as fautors and defenders
of heresy. Thus arose a persecution which, though bloodless, was most
deplorable. All through France and Germany and Italy the poor creatures
were turned adrift upon the world, without means of support. Those who
could, found husbands; many were driven to a life of prostitution,
others, doubtless, perished of want and exposure. Even the
quasi-conventual dress to which they were accustomed was proscribed, and
they were forced to wear gay colors under pain of excommunication. In
the history of the Church there have been many more cruel persecutions,
but few which in suddenness and extent have caused greater misery, and
none, we are safe to say, so wanton, causeless, and lacking even the
shadow of justification. The impression made on the popular mind is
seen in the current report that on his death-bed Clement bitterly
repented of three things--that he had poisoned the Emperor Henry VII.
and that he had destroyed the Orders of the Templars and of the

The Church had declared, in the great Council of Lateran, that no
congregations should be allowed to exist save under some approved rule.
The Beguines had gradually, almost unconsciously, grown up in practical
contravention of this canon. The solution of their present difficulties
lay in attaching themselves to some recognized Order, and John XXII., in
1319, recognizing the mischief wrought by the heedless legislation of
Vienne, promised exemption from further persecution of those who would
become Mendicant Tertiaries. Large numbers of them sought this refuge,
though their adhesion was more nominal than real. They preserved their
self-government, their habits of labor, and their ownership of
individual property. In a bull of December 31, 1320, and others of later
date, John drew the distinction between those who lived piously and
obediently in their houses, and those who wandered around disputing on
matters of faith. The former, he is told, amount to two hundred thousand
in Germany alone, and he bitterly reproached the bishops who were
disturbing them on account of the comparatively small number whose
misconduct had drawn forth the misinterpreted condemnation of Clement.
They are in future to be left in peace. This, at least, put an end, in
1321, to the persecution of those of Strassburg.[416]

The innocent Beguines thus obtained a breathing-space, and the gaps in
their ranks were soon filled up. The obnoxious members, however, felt
the effects of the Clementine canon as severely as the habitual sloth
and indifference of the German prelates in such matters would permit.
Archbishop Henry, of Cologne, was one of the few who manifested an
active interest in the matter, and his exertions were rewarded with
considerable success. The Lollards and Beghards no longer ventured to
show themselves publicly, and in the absence of organized machinery it
was not easy to detect them, but in 1322 the archbishop had the good
fortune to capture the most formidable heresiarch of the region. Walter,
known as the Lollard, was a Hollander, and was the most active and
successful of the Beghard missionaries. He was not an educated man, and
was ignorant of Latin, but he had a keen intelligence and ready
eloquence, indefatigable enthusiasm and persuasiveness. His proselyting
labors were facilitated by his numerous writings in the vernacular,
which were eagerly circulated from hand to hand. He had been busy in
Mainz, where he had numerous disciples, and came from there to Cologne,
where he chanced to fall into the archbishop’s hands. He made no secret
of his belief, refused to abjure, and welcomed death in the service of
his faith. The severest tortures were vainly employed to force him to
reveal the names of his fellow-believers; his constancy was unalterable,
and he perished in the flames with serene cheerfulness.[417]

The episcopal Inquisition was not as efficient as the zeal of the
archbishop might wish, but, such as it was, it pursued its labors with
indifferent success. In 1323 we hear of a priest detected in heresy, who
was duly degraded and burned. In 1325 greater results followed the
accidental discovery of an assembly of Beghards. The story told is the
legend common to other places, of a husband, whose suspicions were
aroused, tracking his wife to the nocturnal conventicle and witnessing
the sensual orgies which were popularly believed to be customary in such
places. The episcopal Inquisition was rewarded with a large number of
culprits, whose trial was speedy and sure. Those who would not abjure,
about fifty in number, were put to death--some at the stake, and some
drowned in the Rhine, a novel punishment for heresy, which shows how
uncertain as yet were the dealings with heretics in Germany. It is quite
probable that some of these poor creatures may have sought to shield
their errors under the reputation of the great Dominican preacher,
Master Eckart, and thus brought upon him the prosecution which worried
him to death. It is possible, also, that pursuit of this higher game may
have diverted the archbishop from the chase of the humbler quarry, for
we hear of no further victims in the next few years, though we are told
that the heresy was by no means suppressed.[418]

Archbishop Henry died in 1331 without further success, so far as the
records show, and his successor Waleran, Count of Juliers, took up the
cause in more systematic fashion. He endeavored to organize a permanent
episcopal Inquisition by appointing a commissioner whose duty it was to
inquire after heretics, and who had power to reconcile and absolve those
who should recant--in fact, an inquisitor under another name. The
success of this attempt did not correspond to its deserts. In March,
1335, Waleran was obliged to announce that the evil had greatly
increased in both the city and diocese, and he called upon all his
prelates and clergy to assist his Inquisition by rigidly enforcing the
statutes of Archbishop Henry. This was as ineffective as the previous
measures. The heretics were so bold that they openly wore the garments
of the sect and followed its practices; nay, more, the inquisitor was
either so negligent or so corrupt that he gave absolutions without
requiring conformity. In October of the same year, therefore, the
archbishop issued another pastoral epistle, in which he pronounced all
such absolutions void, and deplored the constant spread of the

The zeal of the Archbishops of Cologne was not without imitators.
Throughout Westphalia, Bishops Ludwig of Munster, Gottfrid of Osnabruck,
Gottfrid of Minden, and Bernhard of Paderborn had been active in
eradicating the heresy within their dioceses. In 1335 Bishop Berthold of
Strassburg made a spasmodic effort to enforce the Clementines, and in
the same year there were some victims burned in Metz. The Magdeburg
Archbishop Otto was of more tolerant temper. In 1336 a number of
“Brethren of the Lofty Spirit” were detected in his city, who did not
hesitate, under examination, to admit their belief, which to pious ears
sounded like the most horrible blasphemy; yet he liberated them after a
few days’ confinement on their simply recanting their errors verbally.
In this same year, however, we have the first instance of a papal
inquisitor at work in north Germany. Friar Jordan, an Augustinian
eremite, held a commission as inquisitor in both sections of Saxony. He
was not well versed in the inquisitorial process, for when at Angermünde
in the Uckermark he came upon a nest of Luciferans, he humanely offered
them the opportunity of canonical purgation. Fourteen of them failed to
procure the requisite number of conjurators, and were duly burned. From
Angermünde Friar Jordan seems to have hastened to Erfurt, where he was
present at the trial of a Beghard named Constantine, though the
proceedings were carried on by the vicar of the Archbishop of Mainz.
There was no desire to punish the heretic, who bore a good reputation
and was useful as a writer of manuscripts. He asserted himself to be the
Son of God, and that he would arise three days after death, so there was
ample ground for the endeavor humanely made by his judges to prove him
insane. A long respite was given him for this purpose, but he
persistently declared his sanity, refused all attempts at conversion,
and perished in the flames.[420]

When the effort was made to find heretics there seems to have been
plenty of them to reward the search. In this same year, 1336, we hear of
the discovery in Austria of a numerous sect who, from the description,
were probably Luciferans. The rites of their nocturnal subterranean
assemblies bear a considerable resemblance to those revealed by the
penitents of Conrad of Marburg, showing how the tradition was handed
down to the outbreak of witchcraft. We are told that they had
contaminated innumerable souls, but they were exterminated by the free
use of the stake and other cruel torments. The next year, in
Brandenburg, many simple folk were seduced into demonolatry by three
evil spirits who personated the Trinity; and though these were driven
off by a Franciscan with the host, the dupes persisted in their error,
and preferred burning to recantation. Even divested of its supernatural
embroidery, the heresy, probably Luciferan, must have been one which
excited enthusiasm in its followers, for at the place of execution they
declared that the flames lighted to consume them were golden chariots to
carry them to heaven. Another instance of Luciferanism occurred at
Salzburg, in 1340, when a priest named Rudolph, in the cathedral, cast
to the ground the cup containing the blood of Christ, a sacrilege which
he had previously committed at Halle. Under examination, he denied
transubstantiation, and asserted the final salvation of Satan and his
angels. He was obstinate to the last, and consequently was burned.[421]

The Brethren of the Free Spirit had by no means been suppressed. In 1339
three aged heresiarchs of the sect were captured at Constance and tried
by the bishop. Disgusting practices of sensuality were proved against
them, and they described their abhorrence of the rites of the Church in
the most revolting terms. Their constancy held good until they were
brought to the place of execution, when it failed them; they recanted,
and were sentenced to imprisonment for life in a dungeon on bread and
water. In 1342, at Würzburg, two more were forced to recantation.
Persecution, however, was spasmodic, and in many places toleration
practically existed. Thus, in Suabia, in 1347, we are told that the
heresy of the Beghards spread without let or hindrance. It was
impossible to eradicate it, even had there been efforts made to suppress
it, which there were not, and it would eventually have overturned the
Church had there not finally arisen theologians able and willing to
combat it.[422]

About this period flourished Conrad of Montpellier, a canon of Ratisbon,
one of the most learned men of the day, who wrote a tract against the
sect. In spite of the condemnation uttered by the Council of Vienne, he
says it continues to increase and multiply, as there are no prelates
found to oppose it. The heretics are mostly ignorant peasants and
mechanics, who wander around wearing the distinctive garments of the
sect, which are also frequently used as a disguise by Waldenses. They
seek hospitality of the Beguines, whom they corrupt by persuading them
that man, through piety, can become the equal of Christ. At Ratisbon,
Conrad met one of these, who was not suffered to enjoy security, for the
bishop arrested him, and, on his obstinately maintaining his errors,
cast him in a dungeon, where he perished. Another, named John of
Mechlin, preached his heresy publicly through upper Germany, where his
eloquence gained him crowds of followers, including nobles and
ecclesiastics, though Conrad declares that, on arguing with him, he
proved to be utterly ignorant. There would appear to have been equal
toleration in the Netherlands, for about this period, at Brussels, a
woman named Blomaert, who wrote several treatises on the Spirit of
Liberty and on Love, was reverenced as something more than human, and
when she went to take the Eucharist she was said by her disciples to be
attended by two seraphim. She vanquished the most learned theologians,
until John of Rysbroek succeeded in confuting her.[423]

       *       *       *       *       *

Since the disputed election of Louis of Bavaria, in 1314, the relations
between the empire and the papacy had been strained. The victory of
Mühldorf, in 1322, which assured to Louis the sovereignty, had been
followed, in 1323, by an open rupture with John XXII., after which the
strife had been internecine. Each declared his enemy a heretic who had
forfeited all rights, and the interdicts which John showered over
Germany had been met by Louis with cruel persecution of all
ecclesiastics obeying them, wherever he could enforce his power.[424]
Such a state of affairs had not been favorable for the persecution of
heresy; it may, partially at least, explain the immunity enjoyed in so
many places by heretics, and the impossibility of introducing the
Inquisition in any form of general organization. Though the papacy
assumed that the imperial throne was vacant, and asserted that, during
such vacancy, the government of the empire devolved upon the pope, these
pretensions could not practically be made good. With the death of Louis,
in 1347, and the recognition of his rival, Charles IV.--the “priest’s
emperor”--Rome might fairly hope that all obstacles would be removed;
that the opposition of the episcopate to the Inquisition would be broken
down, and that the field would be open for a persistent and systematic
persecution, which would soon relieve Germany of the reproach of
toleration. When Clement VI., in 1348, could paternally reprove the
young emperor for lack of dignity in the fashion of his garments, which
were too short and too tight for his imperial station, the youth could
surely be relied upon to obey whatever instructions might be sent him
with regard to the suppression of heresy. The same year saw the
appointment of John Schandeland, doctor of the Dominican house at
Strassburg, as papal inquisitor for all Germany.[425]

Scarcely, however, had the pope and emperor felt their positions
assured, and preparations had been thus made to take advantage of the
situation, when a catastrophe supervened which defied all human
calculation. The weary fourteenth century was nearing the end of its
first half when Europe was scourged with a calamity which might well
seem to fulfil all that apocalyptic prophets had threatened of the
vengeance of God on the sins of man. In 1347 the plague known as the
Black Death invaded Europe from the East, making leisurely progress
during 1348 and 1349 through France, Spain, Hungary, Germany, and
England. No corner of Europe was spared, and on the high seas it is said
that vessels with rich cargoes were found floating, of which the crews
had perished to the last man. Doubtless there are exaggerations in the
contemporary reports which assert that two thirds or three quarters or
five sixths of the inhabitants of Europe fell victims to the pest; but
Boccaccio, as an eye-witness, tells us that the mortality within the
walls of Florence from March to July, 1348, amounted to one hundred
thousand souls; that in the fields the harvests lay ungathered; that in
the city palaces were tenantless and unguarded; that parents forsook
children and children parents. In Avignon the mortality was estimated at
one hundred thousand; Clement VI. shut himself up in his apartments in
the sacred palace, where he built large fires to ward off the
pestilence, and would allow none to approach him. In Paris fifty
thousand were said to have perished; in St. Denis sixteen thousand; in
Strassburg sixteen thousand. That these figures, though vague, are not
improbable, is shown by the case of Béziers, where, in 1348, Mascaro,
who was chosen _escudier_ to fill a vacancy, records in his diary that
all the consuls were carried off, all their _escudiers_ or assistants,
and all the _clavars_ or tax-collectors, and that out of every thousand
inhabitants only a hundred escaped. As though Nature did not cause
sufficient misery, man contributed his share by an uprising against the
Jews. They were accused of causing the plague by poisoning the waters
and the pastures, and the blind wrath of the population did not stop to
consider that they drank from the same wells as the Christians, and
suffered with them in the pestilence. From the Atlantic to Hungary they
were tortured and slain with sword and fire. At Erfurt three thousand
are said to have perished, and in Bavaria the number was computed at
twelve thousand.[426]

It was not only by the massacre of the Jews that the people sought to
placate the wrath of God. The gregarious enthusiasm of which we have
seen so many instances was by no means extinct. In 1320 France had seen
another assemblage of the Pastoureaux, when the dumb population arose,
armed only with banners, for the conquest of the Holy Land, and an
innumerable multitude wandered over the land, peaceably at first, but
subsequently showing their devotion by attacking the Jews, and finally
manifesting their antagonism to the hierarchy by plundering the
ecclesiastics and the churches, until they were dispersed with the sword
and put out of the way with the halter. In 1334 the great Dominican
preacher, Venturino da Bergamo, roused the population of Lombardy to so
keen a sense of the necessity of propitiating God that he organized a
pilgrimage to Rome for the sake of obtaining pardons, variously
estimated as consisting of from ten thousand to three millions of
penitents. Clothed in white, with black cloaks bearing on one side a
white dove and olive-branch, and on the other a white cross, they
marched peaceably in bands to the holy city, though when Venturino went
to John XXII., in Avignon, to get the pardons for his followers, he was
accused of heresy, and had to undergo a trial by the Inquisition.[427]

Such being the popular tendencies of the age, it is no wonder that the
profound emotions caused by the fearful scourge of the Black Death found
relief in a gregarious outburst of penitence. Germany had suffered less
than the rest of Europe, only one fourth of the population being
estimated as perishing, but the religious sensibilities of the people
had been stirred by the interdicts against Louis of Bavaria, and the
pestilence had been preceded by earthquakes, which were portents of
horror. It well might seem that God, wearied with man’s wickedness, was
about to put an end to the human race, and that only some extraordinary
effort of propitiation could avert his wrath. In this state of mental
tension it needed but a touch to send an impulse through the whole
population. Suddenly, in the spring of 1349, the land was covered with
bands of Flagellants, like those whom we have seen nearly a century
before, expiating their sins by public scourging. Some said that the
example was set in Hungary; others attributed it to different places,
but it responded so thoroughly to the vague longings of the people, and
it spread so rapidly, that it seemed to be the result of a universal
consentaneous impulse. All the proceedings, at least at first, were
conducted decently and in order. The Flagellants marched in bands of
moderate size, each under a leader and two lieutenants. Beggary was
strictly prohibited, and no one was admitted to fellowship who would
not promise obedience to the captain, and who had not money to defray
his own expenses, estimated at four pfennige per diem, though the
hospitality universally offered in the towns through which they passed
was freely accepted to the extent of lodging and meals; but two nights
were never to be spent in the same place. Monks and priests, nobles and
peasants, women and children were marshalled together in common
contrition to placate an offended God. They chanted rude hymns--

    “Nü tretent herzu die bussen wellen.
     Fliehen wir die heissen hellen.
     Lucifer ist ein bose geselle,” etc.--

and scourged themselves at stated times, the men stripping to the waist
and using a scourge knotted with four iron points, so lustily laid on
that an eye-witness says that he had seen two jerks requisite to
disengage the point from the flesh. They taught that this exercise,
continued for thirty-three days and a half, washed from the soul all
taint of sin, and rendered the penitent pure as at birth.

From Poland to the Rhine the processions of Flagellants met with little
opposition, except in a few towns, such as Erfurt, where the magistrates
prohibited their entrance, and in the province of Magdeburg, where
Archbishop Otho suppressed them. They spread through Holland and
Flanders, but when they invaded France, Philippe de Valois interfered,
and they penetrated no farther than Troyes. The guardians of public
order, indeed, could not look without dread upon such a popular
demonstration, which by organization might become dangerous. When the
Flagellants of Strassburg proposed to form a permanent confraternity,
Charles IV., who was in that city, peremptorily forbade it. Already
dangerous characters were attracted to the wandering bands; in many
places their zeal had led to the merciless persecution of the Jews, and
there were not lacking symptoms of a significant antagonism to the
Church, manifesting itself in attacks upon ecclesiastics and clerical
property. The Church, in fact, looked askance upon a religious
manifestation not of her prescription, and her susceptibilities were not
soothed by the daily reading, amid the flagellation, of a letter brought
by an angel to the Church of St. Peter, in Jerusalem, relating that
God, incensed at the non-observance of Sundays and Fridays, had scourged
Christendom, and would have destroyed the world but for the intercession
of the angels and the Virgin. This was accompanied by a message that
general flagellation for thirty-three and a half days would cause him to
lay aside his wrath. There was danger, indeed, of open antagonism and
insubordination. The Mendicants, who endeavored to discourage this
independent popular penitence, incurred the bitterest hostility, which
had no scruple in finding expression. At Tournay the orator of the
Flagellants denounced them as scorpions and antichrists, and on the
borders of Misnia two Dominicans, who endeavored to reason with a band
of Flagellants, were set upon with stones; one had sufficient agility to
escape, but the other was lapidated to death.[428]

When in Basle about a hundred of the principal citizens organized
themselves into a confraternity, and made a flagellating pilgrimage to
Avignon, they excited great admiration among the citizens, and most of
the cardinals were disposed to think highly of the new penitential
discipline. Clement VI. penetrated deeper below the surface, and
recognized the danger to the Church of allowing irregular and
independent manifestations of zeal, and of permitting unauthorized
associations and congregations to form themselves. Moreover, what was to
become of the most serviceable and profitable function of the Holy See
in administering the treasures of salvation, if men could cleanse
themselves of sin by self-prescribed and self-inflicted penance? The
movement bore within it the germ of revolution, as threatening and as
dangerous as that of the Poor Men of Lyons, or of any of the sects which
had thus far been successfully combated, and self-preservation required
its prompt suppression at any cost. From the standpoint of worldly
wisdom this reasoning was unanswerable, but members of the Sacred
College were obstinate. They prevailed upon Clement not to execute his
first intention of casting the Flagellants into prison, and the
discussion on the policy to be pursued must have been protracted, for it
was not until October 20, 1349, that the papal bull of condemnation was
issued. This took the ground that it was a disregard of the power of the
keys and a contempt of Church discipline for these new and unauthorized
associations to wear distinctive garments, to form assemblies governed
by self-dictated statutes, and performing acts contrary to received
observances. Allusion was made to the cruelties exercised on the Jews,
and the invasion of ecclesiastical property and jurisdiction. All
prelates were ordered to suppress them forthwith; those who refused
obedience were to be imprisoned until further orders, and the aid of the
secular arm was to be called upon if necessary.[429]

Clement was correct in his anticipation of the effects of the new
discipline on the minds of the faithful. When the subject came up for
discussion at the Council of Constance, in 1417, and San Vicente Ferrer
was inclined to regard it with favor, his lofty reputation and his
services in procuring the abandonment of Peter of Luna (Benedict XIII.)
by Spain rendered it impossible not to treat him with respect, but
Gerson took him delicately to task and wrote a tract to show the evils
resulting from the practice. Experience, he said, had shown that the
members of the sect of Flagellants were led to look with contempt on
sacramental confession and the sacrament of penitence, for they exalted
their peculiar form of penance, not only over that prescribed by the
Church, but even over martyrdom, because they shed their own blood,
while the blood of martyrs was shed by others. This led directly to
insubordination and to destroying the reverence due to the Church, and
was the fruitful parent of heresy. From some of his allusions, indeed,
we may gather that it frequently caused collisions between the people
and the priesthood, in which the latter were apt to be roughly

This shows how inefficient had been Clement’s prohibition, and how
obstinately the practice had maintained itself until it had risen to
the rank of a new heresy. When his bull was received by the German
prelates they fully comprehended the dangers which it sought to avert,
and addressed themselves vigorously to its enforcement. The Flagellants
were denounced from the pulpit as an impious sect, condemned by the Holy
See. Those who would humbly return to the Church would be received to
mercy, while the obdurate would be made to experience the full rigor of
the canons. This thinned the ranks considerably, but there were enough
of persistent ones to furnish a new harvest of martyrs. Many were
executed, or exposed to various forms of torment, and not a few rotted
to death in the dungeons in which they were thrown. Even ecclesiastics
could not be prevented from adhering to the obnoxious sect. William of
Gennep, Archbishop of Cologne, in a provincial council excommunicated
all clerks who joined the Flagellants; yet this was so completely
disregarded that in his vernal synod of 1353 he was obliged to order all
deans and rectors of churches to assemble their chapters, read his
letters, and make provision for the public excommunication by name of
all the disobedient, to be followed within a fortnight by their
suspension. We shall see hereafter with what persistent obstinacy the
outbreak of flagellation recurred from time to time, and how it was
regarded as heresy, pure and simple, by the Church. Meanwhile, it is not
to be doubted that the Brethren of the Free Spirit took full advantage
of the excitement prevailing in men’s minds, and of the upturning which
resulted, both spiritually and socially. When the bands of Flagellants
first made their appearance they were joined in many places, we are
told, by the heretics known as Lollards, Beghards, and Cellites.
Involved in common persecution, they grew to have common interests, and
they became too intimately associated together not to lend each other
mutual support.[431]

Thus far the faith had not gained the advantage which had naturally been
expected to follow the undisputed domination of the pious Charles IV. At
the end of 1352 Innocent VI. ascended the papal throne and promptly
repeated the attempt to introduce the papal Inquisition in Germany by
renewing, in July, 1353, the commission as inquisitor of Friar John
Schandeland, and writing earnestly to the German prelates to lend him
all assistance. The pestiferous madness of the Beghards, he said, was
blazing forth afresh, and efforts were requisite for its suppression. As
in their dioceses the Inquisition had no prisons of its own, they were
required to give it the free use of the episcopal jails. We are told in
general terms that Friar John was energetic and successful, but no
records remain to prove his activity or its results, and it is fair to
conclude that the bishops, as usual, gave him the cold shoulder. There
is no proof even that he was concerned in the condemnation of the
Beghard heresiarch Berthold von Rohrback, who in 1356 expiated his
heresy in the flames. Berthold had previously been caught in Würzburg,
and had recanted through dread of the stake. He ought to have been
imprisoned for life, but the German spiritual courts, as usual, were
unversed in the penalties for heresy, and he was allowed to go free,
when he secretly made his way to Speier. There he was successful in
propagating his doctrines until he was again arrested. As a relapsed
heretic, under the rules of the Inquisition, there was no mercy for him,
but the rules were imperfectly understood in Germany, and again he was
treated more leniently than the canons allowed, and was offered
reconciliation. This time his courage did not fail him. “My faith,” he
said, “is the gift of God, and I neither ought nor wish to reject his
grace.” That Innocent’s attempt to introduce the Inquisition proved a
failure may be gathered from the action of William of Gennep, in his
vernal synod of Cologne in 1357. While deploring the increase of the
pernicious sect of Beghards, which threatens to infect his whole city
and diocese, he makes no allusion whatever to the papal Inquisition and
the canons. The measures of his predecessors are referred to, in
accordance with which all parish priests are directed to proceed against
the heretics, under threat of prosecution for remissness, and
excommunication is pronounced against those who aid the Beghards with

Undeterred by ill-success the effort was renewed. From a MS. sentence of
June 6, 1366, printed by Mosheim, we learn that the Dominican, Henry de
Agro, was at that time commissioned as inquisitor of the province of
Mainz and the diocese of Bamberg and Basle, the latter of which belonged
to the province of Besançon. He was conducting an active inquisition in
the diocese of Strassburg, whose bishop, John of Luxembourg, had
gratified episcopal jealousy by not allowing him to perform his office
independently, but had adjoined to him his vicar, Tristram, who acted in
the matter not simply as representing the bishop in the sentence, but as
co-inquisitor. According to the rules of the Inquisition, the judgment
was rendered in an assembly of experts. The victim in this case was a
woman, Metza von Westhoven, a Beguine, who had been tried and who had
abjured in the persecution under Bishop John of Zurich, nearly half a
century before. As a relapsed heretic there was no pardon for her, and
she was duly relaxed.[433]

Thus far whatever hopes might have been based upon the zeal of Charles
IV. had not been realized. He seems to have taken no part in the efforts
of the papacy, and without the imperial exequatur the commissions issued
to inquisitors had but moderate chance of enjoying the respect and
obedience of the prelates. In 1367 Urban V. returned to the work by
commissioning two inquisitors for Germany, the Dominicans Louis of
Willenberg and Walter Kerlinger, with powers to appoint vicars. The
Beghards were the only heretics alluded to as the object of their
labors; prelates and magistrates were ordered to lend their efficient
assistance and to place all prisons at their disposal until the German
Inquisition should have such places of its own. This was the most
comprehensive measure as yet taken for the organization of the Holy
Office in Germany, and it proved the entering wedge, though at first
Charles IV. does not seem to have responded. The choice of inquisitors
was shrewd. Of Friar Louis we hear little, but Friar Walter (variously
named Kerling, Kerlinger, Krelinger, and Keslinger) was a man of
influence, a chaplain and favorite of the emperor, who had the temper of
a persecutor and the opportunity and ambition to magnify his office. In
1369 he became Dominican Provincial of Saxony, and continued to perform
the duplicate functions until his death, in 1373. He lost no time in
getting to work, for in 1368 we hear of a Beghard burned in Erfurt, and
to his unwearied exertions is generally attributed the temporary
suppression of the sect.[434]

Still there was at first no appearance of any hearty support from either
the spiritual or temporal potentates of Germany, and without this the
business of persecution could only languish. When, however, the emperor
made his Italian expedition, in 1368, the opportunity was utilized to
arouse him to a sense of his neglected duties. It was rare indeed for an
emperor to have the cordial support of the papacy, and we may reasonably
assume that Charles was made to see that through their union the
Inquisition might be rendered serviceable to both in breaking down the
independence of the great prince-bishops. Thus it happened that when
that institution was falling into desuetude in the lands of its birth,
it was for the first time regularly organized in Germany and given a
substantive existence. From Lucca, on June 9 and 10, 1369, the emperor
issued two edicts which excel all previous legislation in the unexampled
support accorded to inquisitors--the extravagance of their provisions
probably furnishing a measure of the opposition to be overcome. All
prelates, princes, and magistrates are ordered to expel and treat as
outlaws the sect of Beghards and Beguines, commonly known as _Wilge
Armen_ or _Conventschwestern_, who beg with the vainly prohibited
formula “_Brod durch Gott!_” At the command of Walter Kerlinger and
his vicars or other inquisitors, all who give alms to the proscribed
class shall be arrested and so punished as to serve as a terror to
others. With special significance the prelates are addressed and
commanded to use their powers for the extermination of heresy; in the
strongest language, and under threats of condign punishment to be
visited on them in person and on their temporalities, they are ordered
to obey with zeal the commands of Friar Kerlinger, his vicars, and all
other inquisitors as to the arrest and safekeeping of heretics; they are
to render all possible aid to the inquisitors, to receive and treat them
kindly and courteously, and furnish them with guards in their movements.
Moreover, all inquisitors are taken under the special imperial favor and
protection. All the powers, privileges, liberties, and immunities
granted to them by preceding emperors or by the rulers of any other
land are conferred upon them, and confirmed, notwithstanding any laws or
customs to the contrary. To enforce these privileges, two dukes (Saxony
and Brunswick), two counts (Schwartzenberg and Nassau), and two knights
(Hanstein and Witzeleyeven) are appointed conservators and guardians,
with instructions to act whenever complaint is made to them by the
inquisitors. They shall see that one third of the confiscations of
heretic Beghards and Beguines are handed over to the Inquisition, and
shall proceed directly and fearlessly, without appeal, against any one
impeding or molesting it in any manner, making examples of them, both in
person and property. Any contravention of the edict shall entail a mulct
of one hundred marks, one half payable to the fisc and one half to the
party injured. Besides this, any one impeding or molesting any of the
inquisitors or their agents, directly or indirectly, openly or secretly,
is declared punishable with confiscation of all property for the benefit
of the imperial treasury, and deprivation of all honors, dignities,
privileges, and immunities.[435]

These portentous edicts provided for the _personnel_ of the Inquisition
and the exercise of its powers, but to render it a permanent institution
there were still lacking houses in which it could hold its tribunals,
and prisons in which to keep its captives. The imperial resources were
not adequate to this, and nothing was to be expected from the piety of
princes and prelates. Somebody must be despoiled for its
benefit--somebody too defenceless to resist, yet possessed of property
sufficient to be tempting. These conditions were exactly filled by the
orthodox Beghards and Beguines, who, since their temporary persecution
after the publication of the Clementines, had continued to prosper and
to enjoy the donations of the pious. They were accordingly marked as the
victims, and, a week after the issue of the edicts just described,
another was published in which these poor creatures are described as
cultivating a sacrilegious poverty, which they assert to be the most
perfect form of life, and their communities, if left undisturbed, will
become seminaries of error. Moreover, the Inquisition has no house,
domicile, or strong tower for the detention of the accused and for the
perpetual incarceration of those who abjure, whereby many heretics
remain unpunished and the seed of evil is scattered. Therefore the
houses of the Beghards are given to the Inquisition to be converted into
prisons; those of the Beguines are ordered to be sold and the proceeds
divided into thirds, one part being assigned to repairing roads and the
walls of the towns, another to be given to inquisitors, to be expended
on pious uses, among which is included the maintenance of prisoners. But
three days’ notice is given to the victims prior to expulsion from
their homes.[436]

If the Inquisition could have been permanently established in Germany
this unscrupulous measure would have accomplished the object. What
between the imperial favor and Kerlinger’s energy it at last had a fair
start. The last edict alludes to two additional inquisitors whom
Kerlinger was authorized to appoint and to his successful labors, by
which the heretic Brethren of the Free Spirit had been completely
destroyed in the provinces of Magdeburg and Bremen, and in Thuringia,
Hesse, Saxony, and elsewhere. Probably this is exaggerated, but we learn
from other sources that Kerlinger was zealously active and that his
labors were rewarded with success. In Magdeburg and Erfurt he burned a
number of heretics and forced the rest to outward conformity or to
flight. We hear of him at Nordhausen in 1369, where he captured forty
Beghards; of these seven were obdurate and were burned, and the rest
abjured and accepted penance. This is probably a fair example of his
work, and we may believe Gregory XI. when, in 1372, he says that the
Inquisition had destroyed heresy and heretics in the central provinces
and driven them to the outlying districts of Brabant, Holland, Stettin,
Breslau, and Silesia, where they are gathered in such multitudes that
they hope to be able to maintain themselves; wherefore he earnestly
calls upon the prelates and nobles to bring the good work to an end by
efficiently supporting the Holy Office in its final labors. Apparently
Kerlinger had not been anxious to divide his authority by exercising his
power to appoint two additional colleagues, and Gregory now intervened
to relieve him of this duty and place the German Inquisition on a
permanent footing by assimilating its organization to that of the
institution elsewhere. He increased the number of Inquisitors to five
and placed their appointment and removal in the hands of the Dominican
master and provincial, or either of them. Kerlinger and Louis, however,
were to remain as two of the five, and no power, whether imperial or
episcopal, should have authority to interfere with the free exercise of
their functions.[437]

A further extension of the power of the Inquisition granted by Charles
IV. was of no great importance at the time, but has the highest interest
to us as the first indication of what was to come. A leading feature of
the Beghard propaganda was the circulation among the laity of written
tracts and devotional works. Composed in the vernacular, they reached a
class which was not wholly illiterate and yet was unable to profit by
the orthodox works of which Latin was the customary vehicle. For the
suppression of this effective method of missionary work the Inquisition
was intrusted with a censorship of literature, to which further
reference will be made hereafter. Less interesting to us, but probably
more important at the time, was the permission granted to the
inquisitors to appoint notaries. It will be remembered how jealously
these appointments were guarded, and this concession was evidently
looked upon as a special favor. The inquisitors apparently had been
trammelled by the lack of notaries, and they were now authorized to
appoint one in each diocese, and to replace him when removed by death or

As regards the seizure of the Beguinages, it was ruthlessly carried out
by Kerlinger. Those of Mühlhausen had been very flourishing, and on
February 16, 1370, four of them were delivered by him to the magistrates
to be converted to public uses--probably the city’s share of the
plunder. It would seem, however, that obstacles were thrown in his way.
The jealousy of the bishops was not likely to look with favor upon this
permanent establishment of the Inquisition in their dioceses, with
prisons and landed property that would render it independent. Mosheim
judiciously suggests that as these houses were benevolent gifts for
pious uses the bishops could assert them to be under their jurisdiction
and not subject to an imperial edict; nobles and citizens, moreover, had
been trained to regard their inoffensive inmates with favor, and were
not eager to share in the spoils. Whatever may have been their motives,
Kerlinger could not have found the way open to the general confiscation
that he desired. In 1371 he was obliged to petition Gregory XI.,
reciting the existence of heretics called Beghards and Beguines, and the
imperial edict confiscating their conventicles, the confirmation of
which he desired. There was nothing to lead Gregory to suppose that
there was in this anything but the well-understood confiscation of
heretical property, and he willingly gave the desired confirmation.[439]

Thus, after a desultory struggle lasting for nearly a century and a
half, the Inquisition finally established itself in Germany as an
organized body. For a while, at least, the office of inquisitor was kept
regularly filled as vacancies occurred. When Kerlinger died, in 1373,
his successor in the Provincialate of Saxony, Hermann Hetstede, is
qualified as being an inquisitor, and the same title is given to Henry
Albert, who followed Hetstede in 1376. The Holy Office seems to have
been almost exclusively in Dominican hands, and we rarely hear of its
functions as performed by Franciscans. The good work proceeded apace. In
1372 Kerlinger had a heretic of higher rank than usual to deal with in
the person of Albert, Bishop of Halberstadt, who publicly taught
fatalistic doctrines--possibly some form of predestination such as
Wickliff was commencing to formulate. This resulted in a great decrease
in pious works, for it struck at the root of the invocation of saints,
masses for the dead, and liberality to the clergy, and the consequences
threatened to be so serious that Gregory XI. ordered Kerlinger, together
with Hervord, Provost of Erfurt, and an Augustinian named Rodolph, to
force the bishop to an abjuration, and in case of disobedience to
transmit him to the papal court for judgment. In the same year Gregory
recounts with much satisfaction the success of the inquisitors in
driving the Beghards out of central and northern Germany; he stimulated
the emperor to support their labors with fresh zeal, and sent
encyclicals to the princes, prelates, and magistrates, commanding them
to use every effort to render the work complete, by exterminating the
heretics in the regions where they had taken refuge. Early in the next
year he commissioned the Dominican, John of Boland, an imperial
chaplain, as inquisitor in the dioceses of Trèves, Cologne, and Liège,
the Beghards and Beguines being the objects specially indicated; and
Charles hastened to invest him with all the powers specified in his
letters of 1369, ordering the Dukes of Luxembourg, Limburg, Brabant, and
Juliers, the Princes of Mons and Cleves, and the Counts of La Marck,
Kirchberg, and Spanheim to serve as conservators and guardians of the

Although the Brethren of the Free Spirit were the chief objects of all
this inquisitorial activity, the Flagellants were not neglected. In 1361
a demonstration of these enthusiasts in far-off Naples awakened the
solicitude of Innocent VI. In 1369 we hear of an outbreak of women
coming from Hungary, which was summarily suppressed in Saxony. In 1372
Flagellants reappeared in various parts of Germany, asserting the
peculiar efficacy of their penance as replacing the sacraments of the
Church, so that Gregory XI. felt it necessary to direct the inquisitors
to exterminate them. In 1373 and 1374 this irrepressible tendency took a
new shape, known as the Dancing Mania, which broke out at the
consecration of a church in Aix-la-Chapelle. Bands of both sexes, mostly
consisting of poor and simple folk, poured into Flanders from the
Rhinelands, dancing and singing as though possessed by the Furies. Under
intense spiritual excitement the performer would leap and dance until he
fell to earth with convulsions, when his comrades would revive him by
jumping upon him, or a cloth which he wore, tied around the belly, would
be tightly twisted with a stick. This was generally looked upon as a
kind of demoniacal possession until a multitude of these dancers
assembled at Herestal and consulted together as to the best plan for
slaying all the priests, canons, and clergy of Liège, when the madness
was recognized as no longer harmless. Still it spread over a large
portion of Germany and lasted for several years. Though not in itself a
heresy, it led in some places to heretical opinions on the sacraments,
for it was popularly explained by attributing it to defective baptism,
caused by the universal practice among priests of keeping

Scarce had the Inquisition been fairly organized and had settled to its
work, when its arbitrary proceedings awakened active opposition. As the
heretic Beghards and Beguines were the principal objects of its
activity, and the orthodox ones of its cupidity, the sufferings of the
latter speedily awoke compassion which found expression in terms so
decided that Gregory XI. could not refuse to listen. Accordingly, in
April, 1374, he wrote to the Archbishops of Mainz, Trèves, and Cologne,
reciting these complaints and ordering a report about the life and
conversation of the persons concerned, who should be protected and
cherished if innocent, and be punished if guilty. At least from Cologne
and Worms, probably from the other prelates, came answers that the
persecuted communities were composed of faithful Catholics. In Cologne
the magistrates intervened and complained energetically to the pope that
a Dominican inquisitor was vexing the poor folk, and they asked that his
proceedings be stopped. The victims, they said, were people of little
culture, who were interrogated with questions so difficult that the most
skilful theologians could scarce answer them, while their edifying lives
had led the clergy to protect them against the threats of the
Inquisition. Proceedings were thus checked, but still the peculiar
garments which the devotees had always worn furnished an excuse for
continued persecution, and another appeal was made to Gregory, to which
he responded in December, 1377, by ordering the prelates not to permit
their molestation on this account so long as they were good Catholics
and obedient to the ecclesiastical authorities. The German bishops were
thus fully armed with papal authority to restrict the operations of the
inquisitors, and those who, like Bishop Lambert of Strassburg, were
themselves disposed to persecution, did not dare to proceed further. The
regular communities of Beghards and Beguines were assured of toleration,
and if the heretical Brethren of the Free Spirit managed to share in
this immunity, it probably did not give the prelates much concern.[442]

All this was discouraging to the zeal of inquisitors whose institution
had hardly yet taken root in the land, but worse was still to follow. In
1378 died both Gregory XI. and Charles IV. The election of Urban VI.
gave rise to the Great Schism, and Wenceslas, the son and successor of
Charles, was notoriously indifferent to the interest of religion as
represented by the Church. Thus deprived of its two indispensable
supporters, the Inquisition could not make head against episcopal
jealousy. In 1381 there could have been no inquisitors in the extensive
dioceses of Ratisbon, Bamberg, and Misnia, for we find the Archbishop of
Prague as papal legate ordering the bishops to appoint them, and
threatening to do so himself in case of disobedience. Still the
Inquisition did not entirely pretermit its labors. In 1392 we hear of a
papal inquisitor named Martin who travelled through Suabia to Würzburg,
finding in the latter place a number of peasants and simple folk
belonging to the sect of Flagellants and Beghards. They had not in them
the stuff of martyrs, and accepted the penance imposed upon them of
joining in a crusade then preaching against the Turks--the first time
for nearly a century that we meet with this penalty. Then Martin went to
Erfurt--always a heretical centre--where he came upon numerous heretics
of the same kind. Some of these were obstinate and were duly burned,
others accepted penance, and the rest sought safety in flight. The
following year there was burned at Cologne, by the papal inquisitor,
Albert, a leading Beghard known as Martin of Mainz, a former Benedictine
monk and a disciple of the celebrated Nicholas of Basle; and in his
trial there are allusions to others of the sect executed not long before
at Heidelberg.[443]

About this period, after a long interval, we again become cognizant of
the existence of Waldenses. The Beghards had succeeded in concentrating
upon themselves the attention of the papal and episcopal inquisitions,
and the followers of Peter Waldo had remained unnoticed, doubtless owing
their safety to outward conformity, though by absenting themselves from
their parishes about the Easter tide they sometimes managed to escape
taking communion for five or six years in succession. Thus laboring
quietly and peacefully, preaching by night in cellars, mills, stables,
and other retired places, they gained numerous converts among the
peasants and artisans, who saw in the sanctity of their lives, as sadly
admitted by the so-called Peter of Pilichdorf, the strongest contrast
with the scandalous license of the clergy.[444] Thus they multiplied
in secret until all Germany was full of them, including the
closely-related sect of Winkelers. About 1390 they were discovered in
Mainz, where for a hundred years they had lurked undisturbed. The
Archbishop, Conrad II., kept the matter in his own hands. In 1392 he
issued a commission, as episcopal inquisitors, to Frederic, Bishop of
Toul, Nicholas of Saulheim, the Dean of St. Stephen, and John Wasmod, of
Homburg, a priest of the cathedral, to whom the papal inquisitor could
adjoin himself if he so chose. These inquisitors were armed with full
authority to arrest, try, torture, sentence, and abandon to the secular
arm all heretics, and were instructed to proceed in accordance with the
practice of the Inquisition. They zealously discharged their duty. A
number of Waldenses were already in the episcopal prison, and they made
diligent perquisition after the rest. By free use of torture they
obtained the necessary avowals and evidence. Those who were obstinate
were handed over to the secular arm, and an _auto de fé_ celebrated at
Bingen in 1392, where six-and-thirty wretches were burned, proved that
the papal Inquisition itself could not have been more effective. A
little tract on the examination of Waldenses, evidently written on this
occasion, shows that the inquisitorial process was fairly well
understood, and that the episcopal officials had not much to learn from
their rivals.[445]

When attention was once attracted to this secret heresy, it was not long
before Waldenses were discovered everywhere. In a short list of them,
dated 1391, Poland, Hungary, Bavaria, Suabia, and Saxony are
represented. The author of the tract which passes under the name of
Peter of Pilichdorf, who took an energetic part both with the pen and in
action in suppressing this suddenly discovered heresy, informs us, in
1395, that the Netherlands, Westphalia, Prussia, and Poland were not
infected with it, while Thuringia, Misnia, Bohemia, Moravia, Austria,
and Hungary numbered their heretics by thousands. Curiously enough, in
this list he omits Pomerania, where, along the Baltic regions, the
Waldenses were thickly scattered from Stettin to Königsberg. The heresy
had been deeply rooted there for at least a century, and the local
priesthood seem to have borne no ill-will to the harmless sectaries, who
conformed outwardly to the orthodox observances. Even when in confession
intimations of the heresy escaped, as sometimes happened, they were
wisely and mercifully overlooked. Yet there is evidence of previous
persecution in the confession of Sophia Myndekin, of Fleit, who said
that she had been fifty years in the sect, that her husband had been
burned at Angermünde, and that she had only escaped on account of
pregnancy, while all their little property was confiscated. They were
poor folk, mostly peasants and laborers, and though there are occasional
allusions in the trials to men of gentle blood, the tenets of the sect
excluded all who owed feudal military service, war and bloodshed being
strictly forbidden. They were visited yearly by their ministers, some of
whom were mechanics, and others learned men skilled in Holy Writ,
probably from Bohemia, who preached, heard confessions, and granted
absolution, the utmost secrecy being observed in these ministrations.
Moreover, collections were made and remitted to the headquarters of the
sect, showing that they formed part of the great Waldensian

They had long been unmolested when one of their ministers, known as
Brother Klaus, who had visited them in 1391 and had heard many
confessions, apparently became frightened at the movement against them.
He apostatized, and seems to have betrayed the names of his penitents.
The Church made haste to secure the fruits of his repentance. Brother
Peter, Provincial of the Celestinian Order, was appointed papal
inquisitor, and early in 1393 he came to Stettin armed with full powers
from the Archbishop of Prague and the Bishops of Lebus and Camin to
represent them. He issued citations, both general ones from the pulpits
of the infected region, and special summonses to individuals. This
naturally caused great excitement, and some of the suspects fled; in
Klein-Wurbiser, indeed, there was a faint demonstration made against the
inquisitorial apparitors, but there was no resistance, and the great
majority submitted to the inevitable. Friar Peter, as customary, was
lenient with those who spontaneously confessed and abjured; all took the
oaths, including that of persecuting heresy and heretics, with only an
occasional manifestation of hesitancy. Torture seems to have been
unnecessary; there was no exhibition of obstinacy, and no burnings. They
were condemned to wear crosses and perform other penance, and when, as
was usually the case, their parents had died in the sect, they were
required to indicate the place of burial, presumably for exhumation.
From January, 1393, until February, 1394, Friar Peter was engaged in
this work. One of his registers, comprising four hundred and forty-three
cases, was in the hands of Flacius Illyricus, fragments of which have
recently been discovered and described by Herr Wattenbach.[447]

From Pomerania, Friar Peter hastened to the south, where he found
Waldenses as numerous, and less inclined to submission. He has left a
brief memorial of his labors, written in 1395, in which he expresses his
fears that the heresy would become dominant, as the Waldenses were
resorting to force, and were employing arson and homicide to intimidate
the orthodox. His only evidence of this, however, is that on September
8, those of Steyer, to punish the parish priest for receiving the
inquisitors in his house, burned his barn, and affixed to the town
gates, by night, a warning in the shape of a half-burned brand and a
bloody knife. This offence was cruelly avenged, for in 1397, at Steyer,
more than a hundred Waldenses of either sex were burned. In this
relentless persecution the case of a child of ten condemned to wear
crosses shows how unsparing were the tribunals, while others in which
the culprits were burned for relapse, having already abjured before the
inquisitor, Henry of Olmütz, indicate that this was not the first effort
made to exterminate the heresy. How extended it was, and how vigorous
its repression, may be gathered from the pseudo Peter of Pilichdorf, who
tells us that from Thuringia to Moravia a thousand converts were made in
two years, and that the inquisitors who were busy in Austria and Hungary
expected soon to have a thousand more.[448]

About the year 1400, in Strassburg, there was active persecution against
a sect known as Winkelers, who were discovered to have four assemblies
in the city, and others in Mainz and Hagenau. In their confessions they
alluded to their comrades in many other places, such as Nordlingen,
Ratisbon, Augsburg, Tischengen, Soleure, Berne, Weissenberg, Speier,
Holzhausen, Schwäbisch-Wörth, Friedberg, and Vienna. Although, strictly
speaking, not Waldenses, they had so many traits in common that the
distinction is rather one of organization than of faith. In 1374 one of
their number returned to the Church, and the fear of his betraying the
little community led to his deliberate murder, the assassins being paid,
and undergoing penance to obtain absolution. Some years later the
inquisitor, John Arnoldi, was threatened with similar vengeance and left
the city. In the final persecution some thirty families were put on
trial, while many succeeded in remaining concealed. There was but one
noble among them, Blumstein, who abjured, and who, some twenty years
later, is found filling important civic posts. Though reference is made
in one of the trials to members of the sect who had been burned at
Ratisbon, those of Strassburg were more fortunate. The inquisitor,
Böckeln, is said to have received bribes for assigning private penance
to some of the guilty; and though the Dominicans demanded the burning of
the heretics, the magistrates interceded with the episcopal official,
and banishment was the severest penalty inflicted. Torture, however, had
been freely used in obtaining confessions. After this, nothing more is
heard in Strassburg of either Winkelers or Waldenses until the burning
of Frederic Reiser in 1458.[449]

There evidently was ample work for the Inquisition in Germany, but it
seems to have been more anxious to repair its defeat in the contest with
the Beghards than to operate against the Waldenses. In the general
excitement on the subject of heresy it was not difficult to render the
Beghards objects of renewed suspicion and persecution. To some extent
the bishops and most of the inquisitors joined in this, but the suspects
had friends among the prelates, who wrote, towards the close of 1393, to
Boniface IX., eulogizing their piety, obedience, and good works, and
asking protection for them. To this Boniface responded, January 7, 1394,
in a brief addressed to the German prelates, ordering them to
investigate whether these persons are contaminated with the errors
condemned by Clement V. and John XXII., and whether they follow any
reproved religious Order; if not, they are to be efficiently protected.
An exemplified copy of this brief, given by the Archbishop of Magdeburg,
October 20, 1396, shows that it continued to be used and was relied upon
in the troubles which followed, soon after, through a sudden change of
policy by Boniface. The Inquisition did not remain passive under this
interference with its operations. It represented to Boniface that for a
hundred years heresies had lurked under the outward fair-seeming of the
Beghards and Beguines, in consequence of which, almost every year,
obstinate heretics had been burned in the different cities of the
empire, and that their suppression was impeded by certain papal
constitutions which were urged in their protection. Boniface was easily
moved to reversing his recent action, and by a bull of January 31, 1395,
he restored to vigor the decrees of Urban V., Gregory XI., and Charles
IV., under which he ordered the Inquisition to prosecute earnestly the
Beghards, Lollards, and _Zwestriones_. This gave full power to molest
the orthodox associations as well as the heretic Brethren of the Free
Spirit, and a severe storm of persecution burst over them. Even some of
the bishops joined in this, as appears from a synod held in Magdeburg
about this time, which ordered the priests to excommunicate and expel
them. Yet this again aroused their friends, and Boniface was induced to
reissue his bull with an addition which, like the contradictory
provisions of the Clementines, shows the perplexity caused by the
admixture of orthodoxy and heresy among the Beguines. After repeating
his commands for their suppression, he adds that there are pious
organizations known as Beghards, Lollards, and _Zwestriones_, which
shall be permitted to wear their vestments, to beg, and to continue
their mode of life, excommunication being threatened against any
inquisitor who shall molest them, unless they have been convicted by the
ordinaries of the diocese.[450]

This left the matter very much to the discretion of the local
authorities, but the spirit of persecution was fairly revived, and the
Inquisition made haste to fortify its position. Under pretext that the
bulls of Gregory XI. were becoming worn by age and use, it procured
their renewal from Boniface IX., in 1395, though the pope is careful to
express that he grants no new privileges. In 1399 it succeeded in having
the number of inquisitors increased to six for the Dominican province of
Saxony alone, on the plea that its wide extent and populous cities
rendered the existing force insufficient. This was not without reason,
for the province embraced the great archiepiscopal districts of Mainz,
Cologne, Magdeburg, and Bremen, to which were added Rügen and Camin.
Camin belonged to the province of Gnesen, and Rügen formed part of the
diocese of Roskild, which was suffragan to the metropolitan of Lünden in
Sweden, thus furnishing the only instance of inquisitorial jurisdiction
in any region that can be called Scandinavian, save a barren attempt
made, in 1421, under the stimulus of the Hussite troubles. A few weeks
later Boniface issued another bull, ordering the prelates and secular
rulers of Germany to give all aid and protection to Friar Eylard
Schöneveld and other inquisitors, and especially to lend the use of
their prisons, as the Inquisition in those parts is said to have none of
its own, which shows that Kerlinger’s scheme of obtaining them from the
property of the Beghards had not proved a success. Eylard set vigorously
to work in the lands adjoining the Baltic, which from their remoteness
had probably escaped his predecessors. At Lubec, in 1402, he procured
the arrest of a Dolcinist named Wilhelm by the municipal officials,
showing that he had no familiars of his own; the accused was examined
several times in the presence of numerous clerks, monks, and laymen,
showing that the secrecy of the inquisitorial process was unknown or
unobserved, and he was finally burned. He had a comrade named Bernhard,
who fled to Wismar, whither Schöneveld followed him and had him burned
in 1403. The same year he seized a priest at Stralsund, who rejected all
solicitations to abjure, and was burned as a persistent heretic; and at
Rostock he condemned for heresy a woman who drove away with the
bitterest reproaches her son, a Cistercian monk, when he urged her to
recant, and who likewise perished in the flames.[451]

About this period heresy appears to have had also to contend with a
reaction on the part of the secular authorities. When, in 1400, the
Flagellants made a demonstration in the Low Countries, the magistrates
of Maestricht expelled them, and when the people took their side the
energetic interference of the Bishop of Liège put an end to the
insubordination; besides, the Sire de Perweis threw a band of
Flagellants into his dungeons and Tongres closed its gates upon them, so
that the epidemic was checked. With the year 1400 the comparative peace
which the Beguines had enjoyed for some fifteen years came to an end.
Their most dreaded enemy was the Dominican, John of Mühlberg, whose
purity of life and energy in battling with the moral and spiritual
errors of his time won him a wide reputation throughout Germany, so that
when he died in exile, driven from Basle by the clergy whom his attacks
had embittered, he was long regarded by the people as a saint and a
martyr. About 1400 he stirred up in Basle a struggle with the Beguines,
which for ten years kept the city in an uproar. Primarily an episode in
the hostility between the Dominicans and Franciscans, it extended to the
clergy and magistrates, and finally to the citizens at large. In 1405
the Beguines were expelled, but the Franciscans obtained from the papacy
bulls ordering their restoration, and the retraction of all that had
been said against them. At last, in 1411, Bishop Humbert and the town
council, excited by a fiery sermon of John Pastoris, abolished the
associations, which were forced to abandon their living in common and
their vestments, or to leave the place. The city of Berne followed this
example, and the magistrates of Strassburg took the same course, when
some of the Beguines adopted the former alternative and some the
latter. Many of these took refuge secretly at Mainz. They were
discovered, and the archbishop, John II., holding them to be heretics,
ordered them to be prosecuted. The matter was intrusted to Master Henry
von Stein, who set vigorously about it. The refugees from Strassburg,
mostly women, were thrown into prison; we also hear of a nun who was
likewise incarcerated, and of a youth from Rotenburg, who was mounted on
a hogshead in the public square, and in the presence of the populace was
obliged to accept the penance of crosses, in an _auto de fé_ much less
impressive than those which Bernard Gui was wont to celebrate.[452]

It was not long before this that the Brethren of the Free Spirit were
deprived of their greatest leader, Nicholas of Basle. As a wandering
missionary he had for many years been engaged in propagating the
doctrines of the sect, and had gained many proselytes. The Inquisition
had been eagerly on his track, but he was shrewd and crafty, and had
eluded its pursuit. Forced, probably about 1397, to fly to Vienna with
two of his disciples, John and James, they were discovered and seized.
The celebrated Henry of Hesse (Langenstein) undertook their conversion,
and flattered himself that he had succeeded, but they all relapsed and
were burned. As Peter, the Celestinian abbot, was at this time
Inquisitor of Passau, he probably had the satisfaction of ridding the
Church of this dangerous heresiarch, whose belief in his own divine
inspiration was such that he considered his will to be equal to that of

Not long after a similar martyrdom occurred at Constance, where a
Beghard, named Burgin, had founded a sect of extreme austerity. Captured
with his disciples by the bishop, he would not abandon his doctrines,
and was duly relaxed. Gerson’s numerous allusions to the Turelupins and
Beghards show that at this period the sect was attracting much attention
and was regarded as seductively dangerous. With all his tendency to
mysticism, Gerson could recognize the peril incurred by those whom he
describes as deceived through too great a desire to reach the sweetness
of God, and who mistake the delirium of their own hearts for divine
promptings: thus disregarding the law of Christ, they follow their own
inclinations without submitting to rule, and are precipitated into guilt
by their own presumption. He was especially averse to the spiritual
intimacy between the sexes, where devotion screened the precipice on the
brink of which they stood. Mary of Valenciennes, he says, was especially
to be avoided on this account, for she applied what is set forth about
the divine fruition to the passions seething in her own soul, and she
argues that he who reaches the perfection of divine love is released
from the observance of all precepts. Thus the Brethren of the Free
Spirit were practically the same in the fifteenth century as in the
times of Ortlieb and Amauri.[453]

Giles Cantor, who founded in Brussels the sect which styled itself Men
of Intelligence, was probably a disciple of Mary of Valenciennes, and
the name was adopted merely to cover its affiliation with the proscribed
Brethren of the Free Spirit. Its doctrines were substantially the same
in their mystic pantheism and illuminism; and their practical
application is seen in the story that on one occasion Giles was moved by
the spirit to go naked for some miles when carrying provision to a poor
person. So open a manifestation would have insured his prosecution had
there been any machinery for persecution in efficient condition in
Brabant; but he was allowed to propagate his doctrines in peace until he
died. He was succeeded in the leadership of the sect by a Carmelite
known as William of Hilderniss, and at length it attracted, in 1411, the
attention of Cardinal Peter d’Ailly, Bishop of Cambrai. Fortunately for
William, the bishop chose to direct the proceedings himself, and they
show complete disregard of inquisitorial methods. He appointed special
commissioners, who made an inquisition; both the names and the testimony
of the witnesses were submitted to William, who made what defence he
could. In rendering judgment d’Ailly called in the Dominican Prior of
St. Quentin, who was inquisitor of the district of Cambrai, and the
sentence was as irregular as the proceedings. William had no desire for
martyrdom, and abjured the heresy; he was required to purge himself with
six compurgators, after which he was to undergo the penance of three
years’ confinement in a castle of the bishop’s, while if he failed in
his purgation he was to be imprisoned in a convent of his order during
the archbishop’s pleasure--a most curious and illogical medley. He
succeeded in finding the requisite number of compurgators, but though he
disappeared from the scene his sect was by no means extinguished, and we
hear of the persecution of a heresiarch as late as 1428.[454]

That Clement VI. did not err when he foresaw the dangerous errors
lurking under the devotion of the Flagellants was demonstrated in 1414.
The sect still existed, and its crude theories as to the efficacy of
flagellation had gradually been developed into an antisacerdotal heresy
of the most uncompromising character. A certain Conrad Schmidt was the
constructive heresiarch who gave to its belief an organized
completeness, and his death made no diminution of the zeal of his
disciples, nor did the failure of his prophecy of the end of the world
in 1309. The curious connection between the Flagellants and the Beghards
is indicated by the fact that these Flagellant Brethren, or Brethren of
the Cross, as they styled themselves, regarded Conrad as the incarnation
of Enoch, and a certain Beghard, who had been burned at Erfurt about
1364, as Elias--an angel having brought their souls from heaven and
infused them into Schmidt and this Beghard while yet in the womb.
Schmidt was to preside at the approaching Day of Judgment, which was
constantly believed to be at hand, Antichrist being the pope and the
priests, whose reign was drawing to an end.

When, in 1343, the letter commanding flagellation, to which I have
already alluded, was brought by an angel and laid on the altar of St.
Peter, God withdrew all spiritual power from the Church and bestowed it
on the Brethren of the Cross. Since then all sacraments had lost their
virtue, and to partake of them was mortal sin. Baptism had been replaced
by that of the blood drawn by the scourge; the sacrament of matrimony
only defiled marriage; the Eucharist was but a device by which the
priests sold a morsel of bread for a penny--if they believed it to be
the body of Christ they were worse than Judas, who got thirty pieces of
silver for it; flagellation replaced them all. Oaths were a mortal sin,
but to avoid betraying the sect the faithful could take them and receive
the sacraments, and then expiate it by flagellation. The growth of such
a belief and the mingled contempt and hatred manifested for the clergy
prove that to the people the Church was as much a stranger and an
oppressor as it had been in the twelfth century. It had learned nothing,
and was as far from Christ as ever.

Conrad Schmidt had promulgated his errors in Thuringia, where his
sectaries were discovered, in 1414, at Sangerhausen. Thither sped the
inquisitor Schöneveld--called Henry by the chroniclers, but probably the
same as the Eylard, whom we have seen at work some years before on the
shores of the Baltic. The princes of Thuringia and Misnia were ordered
to assist him, and they were eager to share in the suppression of a
heresy which threatened to revolutionize the social order. The
proceedings must have been more energetic than regular. Torture must
have been freely used to gather into the net so many victims; nor can a
patient hearing have been given to the accused. Their shrift was short,
and before Schöneveld had left the scene of action he had caused the
burning of ninety-one at Sangerhausen, forty-four in the neighboring
town of Winkel, and many more in other villages. Yet such was the
persistence of the heresy that even this wholesale slaughter did not
suffice for its suppression. Two years later, in 1416, its remains were
discovered, and again Schöneveld was sent for. He examined the accused.
To those who abjured he assigned penances, and handed over the obstinate
to the secular arm. His assizes must have been hurried, for he did not
stay to witness the execution of those whom he had condemned, and after
his departure the princes gathered all together, both penitents and
impenitents, some three hundred in number, and burned the whole of them
in one day. This terrible example produced the profound impression that
was desired, and hereafter the sect of Flagellants may be regarded as
unimportant. Some discussion, as we have seen, took place the next year
at the Council of Constance, when San Vicente Ferrer expressed his
approbation of this form of discipline, and Gerson mildly urged its
dangers; but when, in 1434, a certain Bishop Andreas specified, among
the objects of the Council of Basle, the suppression of the heresies of
the Hussites, Waldenses, Fraticelli, Wickliffites, the Manichæans of
Bosnia, the Beghards, and the schismatic Greeks, there is no allusion in
the enumeration to Flagellants. Yet the causes which had given rise to
the heresy continued in full force and it was still cherished in secret.
In 1453 and 1454 Brethren of the Cross were again discovered in
Thuringia, and the Inquisition was speedily at work to reclaim them.
Besides the errors propagated by Conrad Schmidt, it was not difficult to
extort from the accused the customary confessions of foul sexual
excesses committed in dark subterranean conventicles, and even of
Luciferan doctrines, teaching that in time Satan would regain his place
in heaven and expel Christ; though when we hear that they alleged the
evil lives of the clergy as the cause of their misbelief we may
reasonably doubt the accuracy of these reports. Aschersleben,
Sondershausen, and Sangerhausen were the centres of the sect, and at the
latter place, in 1454, twenty-two men and women were burned as
obstinate heretics. In 1481 a few were punished in Anhalt, and the sect
gradually disappeared.[455]

       *       *       *       *       *

The case of the Beghards and Beguines came before the Council of
Constance in several shapes. To guard themselves from the incessant
molestations to which they were exposed they had, to a large extent,
affiliated themselves, nominally at least, as Tertiaries, to the
Mendicant Orders, chiefly to the Franciscan, whose scapular they
adopted. In a project of reform, carefully prepared for action by the
council, this is strongly denounced; they are said to live in forests
and in cities, free from subjection, indulging in indecent habits, not
without suspicion of heresy, and though able of body and fit to earn
their livelihood by labor, they subsist on alms, to the prejudice of the
poor and miserable. It was therefore proposed to forbid the wearing of
the scapular by all who were not bound by vows to the Orders and
subjected to the Rules. It was also pronounced necessary to make
frequent visitations of their communities on account of the
peculiarities of their life, and magistrates and nobles were to be
ordered not to interfere with such wholesome supervision under pain of
interdict. It was possibly to meet this attack that numerous testimonial
letters from the clergy and magistrates of Germany certifying to the
orthodoxy, piety, and usefulness of the associations were sent to Martin
V., who submitted them to Angelo, Cardinal of SS. Peter and Marcellus,
and received from him a favorable report. Towards the close of the
council, in 1418, a more formidable assault was made upon them by
Matthew Grabon, a Dominican of Wismar, who laid before Martin V.
twenty-four articles to prove that all such associations outside of the
approved religious orders ought to be abolished. To accomplish this,
after the approved style of scholastic logic, he was obliged to assert
such absurd general principles as that it was equivalent to suicide, and
therefore a mortal sin, for any secular person to give away his property
in charity, and that the pope had no power to grant a dispensation in
such cases. Grabon’s propositions and conclusions were referred to
Antonio, Cardinal of Verona, who submitted them to Cardinal Peter
d’Ailly and Chancellor Gerson. The former reported that the paper was
heretical and should be burned, while the jurists should be called upon
to decide what ought to be done to its writer. The latter, that the
doctrine was pestiferous and blasphemous, and that its author, if
obstinate, should be arrested. Grabon was glad to escape by publicly
abjuring some of his articles as heretical, others as erroneous, and
others as scandalous and offensive to pious ears. The triumph of the
Beguines was decisive, and they might at last hope for a respite from
persecution. The associations increased and flourished accordingly, and
under their shelter the Brethren of the Free Spirit continued to
propagate their heresy.[456]

From this time forward the attention of the Church was mainly directed
to Hussitism, the most formidable enemy that it had encountered since
the Catharism of the twelfth century. This will be considered in a
following chapter, and meanwhile I need only say that its secret but
threatening progress throughout Germany called for active means of
repression and led to more thorough organization of the Inquisition. The
bull of Martin V., issued February 22, 1418, against Wickliffites and
Hussites, is addressed not only to prelates but to inquisitors
commissioned in the dioceses and cities of Salzburg, Prague, Gnesen,
Olmütz, Litomysl, Bamberg, Misnia, Passau, Breslau, Ratisbon, Cracow,
Posen, and Neutra. While of course this is not to be taken literally, as
though there were an organized tribunal of the Holy Office in each of
these places, still it indicates that in the districts infected or
exposed to infection the Church was arming itself with its most
effective weapons. The growing danger, moreover, was leading the bishops
to abandon somewhat their traditional jealousy. In this same year, 1418,
the council of the great province of Salzburg not only urged the bishops
to extirpate heresy and to enforce the canons against the secular powers
neglecting their duty in this respect, but commanded all princes and
potentates to seize and imprison all who were designated as suspect of
heresy by the prelates and the inquisitors. Thus at last the episcopate
recognized the Inquisition and came to its support.[457]

Yet the attention of the persecutors was not so exclusively directed to
the Hussites as to allow the Brethren of the Free Spirit to escape, and
in their zeal they continued to molest the orthodox Beguines in spite of
the action of Martin V. at Constance. In 1431 Eugenius IV. found himself
obliged to intervene for their protection. In a bull, addressed to the
German prelates, he recites the favorable action of his predecessors and
the troubles to which, in spite of this, they were exposed by the
inquisitors. Those who wander around without fixed habitations he orders
to be compelled to dwell in the houses of the confraternity, and those
who reside quietly and piously are to be efficiently protected. This
bull affords perhaps the only instance in which the episcopal power is
rendered superior to the Inquisition, for the bishops are authorized to
enforce its provisions by the censures of the Church, without appeal,
even if those who interfere with the Beguines enjoy special immunities,
thus subjecting the inquisitors to excommunication by the prelates. This
stretch of papal power exasperated Doctor Felix Hemmerlin, Cantor of
Zurich, who detested the Beguines. He wrote several bitter tracts
against them, and explained the favor shown them by Eugenius by
irreverently stating that the pope had himself been once a Beghard at
Padua. In one of his numerous assaults upon them, written probably about
1436, he alludes to several recent cases within a limited region, which
would indicate that in spite of the papal protection of the Beguines,
the Brethren of the Free Spirit were actively persecuted, and that, if
the statistics of the whole empire could be procured, the number of
victims would be found not small. Thus in Zurich a certain Burchard and
his disciples were tried and penanced with crosses; but they were
subsequently found to be relapsed and were all burned. At Uri, Charles
and his followers were similarly burned. At Constance Henry de Tierra
was forced to abjure. At Ulm, John and a numerous company were subjected
to public penance. In Würtemberg there was a great heresiarch punished,
whose conviction was only secured after infinite pains. Then from
Bohemia there come Beghards every year who seduce a countless number to
heresy in Berne and Soleure. This leads one to think that Hemmerlin, in
his passion, may confound Hussites with Beghards, and this is confirmed
by his assertion that there is in Upper Germany no heresy save that
introduced by the foxes of this pernicious sect. Nider, in fact, writing
immediately after the Council of Basle had effected a settlement with
the Hussites, when, for a time at least, in Germany they were no longer
considered enemies of the Church, declares that heretics were few and
powerless, skulking in concealment and not to be dreaded, although he
had, in describing the errors of the Brethren of the Free Spirit, stated
that they were still by no means uncommon in Suabia. It was evidently a
member of this sect whom he describes as seeing at Ratisbon when
proceeding with the Archdeacon of Barcelona on a mission from the
Council of Basle to the Hussites. She was a young woman of spotless
character, who made no effort to propagate her faith, but she could not
be induced to recant. The archdeacon advised that she be tortured to
break her spirit, which was done without success and without forcing her
to name her confederates; but when Nider visited her in her cell during
the evening, he found her exhausted with suffering, and he readily
brought her to acknowledge her error, after which she made a public
recantation. This shows us that there could have been no Inquisition in
Ratisbon, and that the local authorities had even lost the memory of
inquisitorial proceedings.[458]

In 1446 the Council of Würzburg found it necessary to repeat the canon
of that of Mainz in 1310, ordering the expulsion of all wandering
Beghards using the old cry of “_Brod durch Gott_” and preaching in
caverns and secret places, showing the maintenance of the traditional
customs and also the absence of more active persecution. In 1453
Nicholas V. formally adjoined them to the Mendicant Orders as
Tertiaries. Some of them obeyed and formed a distinct class, known as
Zepperenses, from their principal house at Zepper. They diminished
greatly in number, however, and in 1650 Innocent X. united them with the
Tertiaries of Italy, under the General Master residing in Lombardy. The
female portion of the associations, which became distinctively known as
Beguines, were more fortunate. They were able to preserve their identity
and their communities, which remain flourishing to the present day,
especially in the Netherlands, where in 1857 the great Beguinage of
Ghent contained six hundred Beguines and two hundred locataires or

Still there remained a considerable number both of heretic Brethren of
the Free Spirit and of orthodox Beghards of both sexes who recalcitrated
of being thus brought under rule and deprived of their accustomed
independence. Thus it is related of Bernhard, who was elected Abbot of
Hirsau in 1460, that among other reforms he ejected all the Beguines
from their house at Altburg, on account of their impurity of life, and
replaced them with Dominican Tertiaries. This aroused the hostility of
the Beghards who dwelt in hermitages in the forest of Hirsau, and they
conspired against the abbot, but only to their own detriment. In 1463
the Synod of Constance complains of the unlawful wearing of the
Franciscan scapular by Lollards and Beguines; all who do so are required
to prove their right or to lay it aside, and able-bodied Lollards are
ordered to live by honest labor and not by beggary. This latter practice
was ineradicable, however, and twenty years later another synod was
compelled to repeat the command. In 1491 a synod of Bamberg refers to
the provisions of the Clementines against the Beguines as though their
enforcement was still called for; and Friar John of Moravia, who died at
Brünn in 1492, is warmly praised as a fierce and indefatigable
persecutor of Hussites and Beghards. These insubordinate religionists
continued to exist under almost constant persecution, until the
Reformation, when they served as one of the elements which contributed
to the spread of Lutheranism.[460]

       *       *       *       *       *

It was impossible that Hussitism should triumph in Bohemia without
awakening an echo throughout Germany, or that the Hussites should
abstain from missionary and proselyting efforts, but the spread of the
heresy through the Teutonic populations was sternly and successfully
repressed. In 1423 the Council of Siena, under the presidency of papal
legates, showed itself fully alive to the danger. It sharply reproved
both inquisitors and episcopal ordinaries for the supineness which alone
could explain the threatening spread of heresy. They were urged to
constant and unsparing vigilance under pain of four months’ suspension
from entering a church and such other punishment as might seem
opportune. They were further ordered to curse the heretics with bell,
book, and candle every Sunday in all the principal churches. Holy Land
indulgences were offered to all who would assist them in capturing
heretics, as well as to rulers who, unable to capture them, should at
least expel them from their territories. The earnest tone of the council
reflects the alarm that was everywhere felt, and it unquestionably led
to renewed exertions, though only a few instances of successful activity
chance to be recorded. Thus, in 1420, a priest, known as Henry Grünfeld,
who had embraced Hussite doctrines, was burned at Ratisbon, where
likewise, in 1423, another priest named Henry Rathgeber met the same
fate. In 1424 a priest named John Drändorf suffered at Worms, and in
1426 Peter Turman was burned at Speier. Even after the Council of Basle
had recognized the Hussites as orthodox, and under the Compactata they
enjoyed toleration in states where they held temporal authority, they
were still persecuted as heretics elsewhere. About 1450 John Müller
ventured to preach Hussite doctrines throughout Franconia, where he met
with much acceptance and gained a numerous following, but he was forced
to fly, and one hundred and thirty of his disciples were seized and
carried to Würzburg. There they were persuaded to recant by the Abbot
John of Grumbach and Master Anthony, a preacher of the cathedral. More
tragic was the fate of Frederic Reiser, a Suabian, educated in
Waldensianism. Under the guise of a merchant he had served as a preacher
among the Waldensian churches which maintained a secret existence
throughout Germany. At Heilsbronn he was captured in a Hussite raid,
when, carried to Mount Tabor, he recognized the practical identity of
the faiths and received ordination at the hands of the Taborite Bishop
Nicholas. He labored to bring about a union of the churches, and
wandered as a missionary through Germany, Bohemia, and Switzerland.
Finally he settled at Strassburg, which was always a heretic centre, and
gathered a community of disciples around him. He called himself
“Frederic, by the grace of God bishop of the faithful in the Roman
Church who spurn the Donation of Constantine.” He was detected in 1458
and arrested with his followers. Under torture he confessed all that was
required of him, only to withdraw it when removed from the
torture-chamber. The burgomaster, Hans Drachenfels, and the civic
magistracy earnestly opposed his execution, but they were obliged to
yield, and he was burned, together with his faithful servant, Anna
Weiler, an old woman of Nürnberg.[461]

Reiser had been specially successful with the descendants of the
Pomeranian Waldenses who, as we have seen, abjured before the inquisitor
Peter in 1393. They appear to have by no means abandoned their heresy,
and were easily brought to the modifications which assimilated them to
the Hussites--.the adoption of bishops, priests, and deacons, the
communion in both elements, and the honoring of Wickliff, Huss, and
Jerome of Prague. In this same year, 1458, a tailor of Selchow, named
Matthew Hagen, was arrested with three disciples and carried to Berlin
for trial by order of the Elector Frederic II. He had been ordained as a
priest in Bohemia by Reiser, and had returned to propagate the doctrines
of the sect and administer its sacraments. His followers weakened and
abjured, but he remained steadfast, and was abandoned to the secular
arm. To root out the sect, Dr. John Canneman, who had tried Hagen, was
sent to Angermünde as episcopal inquisitor; he found many sectaries but
no obstinacy, for they willingly submitted and abjured.[462]

There was, in fact, enough in common between the doctrines of the more
radical Hussites and those of the Waldenses to bring the sects
eventually together. The Waldenses had by no means been extirpated, and
when, in 1467, the remnant of the Taborites known as the Bohemian
Brethren opened communication with them, the envoys sent had no
difficulty in finding them on the confines between Austria and Moravia,
where they had existed for more than two centuries. They had a bishop
named Stephen, who speedily called in another bishop to perform the rite
of ordination for the Brethren, showing that the heretic communities
were numerous and well organized. The negotiations unfortunately
attracted attention, and the Church made short work of those on whom it
could lay its hands. Bishop Stephen was burned at Vienna and the flock
was scattered, many of them finding refuge in Moravia. Others fled as
far as Brandenburg, where already there were flourishing Waldensian
communities. These were soon afterwards discovered, and steel, fire, and
water were unsparingly used for their destruction, without blotting them
out. A portion of those who escaped emigrated to Bohemia, where they
were gladly received by the Bohemian Brethren and incorporated into
their societies. The close association thus formed between the Brethren
and the Waldenses resulted in a virtual coalescence which gave rise to a
new word in the nomenclature of heresy. When, in 1479, Sixtus IV.
confirmed Friar Thomas Gognati as Inquisitor of Vienna, he urged him to
put forth every exertion to suppress the Hussites and Nicolinistæ. These
latter, who took their name from Nicholas of Silesia, were evidently
Bohemian Brethren who adhered to the extreme doctrine common to both
sects, that nothing could justify putting a human being to death. Thus
the struggle continued, and though the danger was averted which had once
seemed threatening, of the widespread adoption of Hussite theories,
there remained concealed enough Hussite and Waldensian hostility to Rome
to serve as a nucleus of discontent and to give sufficient support to
revolt when a man was found, like Luther, bold enough to clothe in words
the convictions which thousands were secretly nursing.[463]

Signs, indeed, were not wanting in the fifteenth century or the
inevitable rupture of the sixteenth. Prominent among those who boldly
defied the power of Rome was Gregory of Heimburg, whom Ullman well
designates as the citizen-Luther of the fifteenth century. He first
comes into view at the Council of Basle, in the service of Æneas
Sylvius, who was then one of the foremost advocates of the reforming
party, and he remained steadfast to the principles which his patron
bartered for the papacy. A forerunner of the Humanists, he labored to
diffuse classical culture, and with his admiration for the ancients he
had, like Marsiglio of Padua, imbibed the imperial theory of the
relations between Church and State. With tongue and pen inspired by
dauntless courage he was indefatigable to the last in maintaining the
rights of the empire and the supremacy of general councils. The power of
the keys, he taught, had been granted to the apostles collectively;
these were represented by general councils, and the monopoly in the
hands of the pope was a usurpation. His free expression of opinion
infallibly brought him into collision with his early patron, and the
antagonism was sharpened when Pius II. convoked the assembly of princes
at Mantua to provide for a new crusade. Gregory, who was there as
counsellor of the princes, boldly declared that this was only a scheme
to augment the papal power and drain all Germany of money. When Nicholas
of Cusa, a time-server like Pius, was appointed Bishop of Brixen and
claimed property and rights regarded by Sigismund of Austria as
belonging to himself, Sigismund, under Gregory’s advice, arrested the
bishop. Thereupon Pius, in June, 1460, laid Sigismund’s territories
under interdict, and induced the Swiss to attack him. Gregory drew up an
appeal to a general council, which Sigismund issued, although Pius had
forbidden such appeals, and he further had the hardihood to prove by
Scripture, the fathers, and history, that the Church was subject to the
State. It was no wonder that Gregory shared his master’s
excommunication. In October, 1460, he was declared a heretic, and all
the faithful were ordered to seize his property and punish him. To this
he responded in vigorous appeals and replications, couched in the most
insolent and contemptuous language towards both Pius and Nicholas. In
October, 1461, Pius sent Friar Martin of Rotenburg to preach the faith
and preserve the faithful from the errors of Sigismund and his
heresiarch Gregory, and, professing to believe that Martin was in
personal danger, he offered an indulgence of two years and eighty days
to all who would render him assistance in his need. He also ordered the
magistrates of Nürnburg to seize Gregory’s property and expel him or
deliver him up for punishment. We next find Gregory aiding Diether,
Archbishop of Cologne, in his quarrel with Pius over the unprecedented
and extortionate demand of the Holy See for annates; but Diether
resigned, Sigismund made his peace, and Gregory was abandoned to his
excommunication, even the city of Nürnburg withdrawing its protection.
He then took refuge in Bohemia with George Podiebrad, whom he served
efficiently as a controversialist, earning a special denunciation as a
heretic of the worst type from Paul II., in 1469; but Podiebrad died in
1471. Gregory then went to Saxony, where Duke Albert protected him and
effected his reconciliation with Sixtus IV. He was absolved at Easter,
1472, only to die in the following August, after spending a quarter of a
century in ceaseless combat with the papacy.[464]

If Gregory of Heimburg embodies the revolt of the ruling classes against
Rome, Hans of Niklaushausen shows us the restless spirit of opposition
to sacerdotalism which was spreading among the lower strata of society.
Hans Böheim was a wandering drummer or fifer from Bohemia, who chanced
to settle at Niklaushausen, near Würzburg. He doubtless brought with him
the revolutionary ideas of the Hussites, and he seems to have entered
into an alliance with the parish priest and a Mendicant Friar or
Beghard. He began to have revelations from the Virgin which suited so
exactly the popular wishes that crowds speedily began to assemble to
listen to him. She instructed him to announce to her people that Christ
could no longer endure the pride, the avarice, and the lust of the
priesthood, and that the world would be destroyed in consequence of
their wickedness, unless they promptly showed signs of amendment. Tithes
and tribute should be purely voluntary, tolls and customs dues were to
be abolished, and game was no longer to be preserved. As the fame of
these revelations spread, crowds flocked to hear the inspired teacher,
from the Rhinelands, Bavaria, Thuringia, Saxony, and Misnia, so that at
times he addressed an audience of twenty thousand to thirty thousand
souls. So great was the reverence felt for him that those who could
touch him deemed themselves sanctified, and fragments of his garments
were treasured as relics, so that his clothes were rent in pieces
whenever he appeared, and a new suit was requisite daily. That no one
doubted the truth of the Virgin’s denunciations of the clergy shows the
nature of the popular estimation of the Church, for the vast crowds who
came eagerly to listen were by no means composed of the dangerous
elements of society. They were peaceful and orderly; men and women slept
in the neighboring fields and woods and caves without fear of robbery or
violence; they had money to spend, moreover, for the offerings of gold
and silver, jewels, garments, and wax were large--large enough, indeed,
to tempt the greed of the potentates, for after the downfall of Hans the
spoils were divided between the Count of Wertheim, suzerain of
Niklaushausen, the Bishop of Würzburg, and his metropolitan, the
Archbishop of Mainz. The latter used a portion of his plunder in
building a citadel near Mainz, the destruction of which soon afterwards
by fire was generally regarded as indicating the displeasure of the

Bishop Rudolph of Würzburg repeatedly forbade the pilgrimage to
Niklaushausen, but in vain, and at length he was led to take more
decided steps. The great festivity of the region was the feast of St.
Kilian, the martyr of Würzburg, falling on July 8. On the Sunday
previous, July 6, 1476, Hans significantly told his audience to return
the following Saturday armed, but to leave their women and children at
home. Matters were evidently approaching a crisis, and the bishop did
not wait for the result, but sent a party of guards, who seized Hans and
conveyed him to a neighboring stronghold. The next day about six
thousand of his deluded followers, including many women and children,
set out for the castle, without arms, believing that its walls would
fall at their demand. They refused to disperse when summoned, but were
readily scattered by a sally of men-at-arms, supported by a discharge
from the cannon of the castle, in which many were slain. Hans was easily
forced by torture to confess the falsity of his revelations and the
deceits by which he and his confederates had stimulated the excitement
by false miracles; but his confession did not avail him, and he was
condemned to be burned. At the place of execution his followers expected
divine interference, and to prevent enchantment the executioner shaved
him from head to foot. He walked resolutely to the stake, singing a
hymn, but his fortitude gave way and he shrieked in agony as the flames
reached him. To prevent his ashes from being treasured as relics, they
were carefully collected and cast into the river. The priest and Beghard
who had served as his confederates sought safety in flight, but were
caught and confessed, after which they were discharged; but two
peasants--one who had suggested the advance upon the castle and one who
had wounded the horse of one of the guards who captured Hans--were

If Gregory of Heimburg and Hans of Niklaushausen represent the
antagonism to Rome which pervaded the laity from the highest to the
lowest, John von Ruchrath of Wesel indicates that even in the Church the
same spirit was not wanting. One of the most eminent theologians and
preachers of whom Germany could boast, celebrated in the schools as the
“Light of the World” and the “Master of Contradictions,” he was a
hardy and somewhat violent disputant, who in his sermons had no scruple
in presenting his opinions in the most offensive shape. Like Luther, of
whom he was the true precursor, he commenced by an assault upon
indulgences, moved thereto by the Jubilee of 1450, when pious Europe
precipitated itself upon Rome to take heaven by assault. Step by step he
advanced to strip the Church of its powers, and was led to reject the
authority of tradition and the fathers, recurring to Scripture as the
sole basis of authority. He even banished from the creed the word
“_Filioque_,” and his predestinarian views deprived the Church of all
the treasures of salvation. How little he recked of the feelings of
those whose faith he assailed is seen in his remark that if fasting was
instituted by St. Peter, it was probably to obtain a better market for
his fish.

It shows how rusty had become the machinery of persecution and the
latitude allowed to free speech that John of Wesel was permitted so
long, without interference, to ripen into a heresiarch and to
disseminate from the pulpit and professorial chair these opinions, as
dangerous as any emitted by Waldenses, Wickliffites, or Hussites. In
fact, but for the bitter quarrel between the Realists and Nominalists,
which filled the scholastic world with strife, it is probable that he
would have been unmolested to the end and enabled to close his days in
peace. He was a leader of the Nominalists, and the Dominican Thomists of
Mainz were resolved to silence him. The Archbishop of Mainz was Diether
of Isenburg, who had been forced to abandon his see in 1463, but had
resumed it in 1475 on the death of his competitor, Adolph of Nassau; he
did not wish another conflict with Rome, to which he was exposed in
consequence of his public denunciations of the papal auctions of the
archiepiscopal pallium; he was threatened with this unless he would
surrender John of Wesel as a victim, and he yielded to the pressure in

In the great province of Mainz there was no inquisitor; trial by the
regular episcopal officials would be of uncertain result; and as there
was a Dominican inquisitor at Cologne, in the person of Friar Gerhard
von Elten, he was sent for. He came, accompanied by Friar Jacob
Sprenger, not yet an inquisitor, but whom we shall see hereafter in that
capacity busy in burning witches. With him came the theologians from the
universities of Heidelberg and Cologne, who were to sit as experts and
assessors, and so carefully were they selected that one of the
Heidelberg doctors, to whom we are indebted for an account of the
proceedings, tells us that among them all there was but one Nominalist.
He evidently regards the whole matter as an incident in the scholastic
strife, and says that the accused would have been acquitted had he been
allowed counsel and had he not been so harshly treated.

The proceedings are a curious travesty of the inquisitorial process,
which show that, however much its forms had been forgotten, the
principle was rigidly maintained of treating the accused as guilty in
advance. There was no secrecy attempted; everything was conducted in an
assembly consisting of laymen as well as ecclesiastics, prominent among
whom we recognize the Count of Wertheim, fresh from the plunder of Hans
of Niklaushausen. After a preliminary meeting, when the assembly
convened for business, February 8, 1479, the inquisitor von Elten
presided, with Archbishop Diether under him, and opened the proceedings
by suggesting that two or three friends of the accused should warn him
to repent of his errors and beg for mercy, in which case he should have
mercy, but otherwise not. A deputation was thereupon despatched, but
their mission was not speedily performed; the inquisitor chafed at the
delay, and began blustering and threatening. A high official was sent to
hurry the matter, but at that moment John of Wesel entered, pallid, bent
with age, leaning on his staff, and supported by two Franciscans. He was
made to sit on the floor; von Elten repeated to him the message, and
when he attempted to defend himself he was cut short, badgered and
threatened, until he was brought to sue for pardon. After this he was
put through a long and exhausting examination, and was finally remanded
until the next day. A commission consisting principally of the Cologne
and Heidelberg doctors was appointed to determine what should be done
with him. The next day he was again brought out and examined afresh,
when he endeavored to defend his views. “If all men renounce Christ,”
he said, “I will still worship him and be a Christian,” to which von
Elten retorted, “So say all heretics, even when at the stake.” Finally
it was resolved that three doctors should be deputed, piously to exhort
him to abandon his errors. As in the case of Huss, it was not his death
that was wanted, but his humiliation.

On the 10th the deputies labored with him. “If Christ were here,” he
told them, “and were treated like me, you would condemn him as a
heretic--but he would get the better of you with his subtlety.” At
length he was persuaded to acknowledge that his views were erroneous, on
the deputies agreeing to take the responsibility on their own
consciences. He had long been sick when the trial was commenced, all
assistance was withheld from him; age, weakness, and the dark and filthy
dungeon from which he had vainly begged to be relieved broke down his
powers of resistance, and he submitted. He publicly recanted and
abjured, his books were burned before his face, and he was sentenced to
imprisonment for life in the Augustinian monastery of Mainz. He did not
long survive his mortification and misery, for he died in 1481. The
trial excited great interest among all the scholars of Germany, who
were shocked at this treatment of a man so eminent and distinguished.
Yet his writings survived him and proved greatly encouraging to the
early Reformers. Melanchthon enumerates him among those who by their
works kept up the continuity of the Church of Christ.[466]

It is evident from this case that the Inquisition, though not extinct in
Germany, was not in working order, and that even where it existed
nominally a special effort was requisite to make it function. Still we
hear occasionally of the appointment of inquisitors, and from the career
of Sprenger we know that their labors could be fruitfully directed to
the extirpation of witchcraft. Sorcery, indeed, had become the most
threatening heresy of the time, and other spiritual aberrations were
attracting little attention. In the elaborate statutes issued by the
Synod of Bamberg, in 1491, the section devoted to heresy dwells at much
length on the details of witchcraft and magic, and mentions only one
other doctrinal error--the vitiation of sacraments in polluted
hands--and it directs that all who neglect to denounce heretics are to
be themselves treated as accomplices, but it makes no allusion to the
Inquisition. Still there is an occasional manifestation showing that
inquisitors existed and sometimes exercised their powers. I shall
hereafter have occasion to refer to the case of Herman of Ryswick, who
was condemned and abjured in 1499, escaped from prison, and was burned
as a relapsed by the inquisitor at The Hague, in 1512, and only allude
to it here as an evidence of continued inquisitorial activity.[467]

The persecution of John Reuchlin, like that of John of Wesel, sprang
from scholastic antagonisms, but its development shows how completely,
during the interval, the inquisitorial power had wasted away. Reuchlin
was a pupil of John Wessel of Groningen; as the leader of the Humanists,
and the foremost representative in Germany of the new learning, he was
involved in bitter controversy with the Dominicans, who, as traditional
Thomists, were ready to do battle to the death for scholasticism. The
ferocious jocularity with which Sebastian Brandt dilates, in his most
finished Latinity, upon the torture and burning of four Dominicans at
Berne, in 1509, for frauds committed in the controversy over the
Immaculate Conception, indicates the temper which animated the hostile
parties, even as its lighter aspect is seen in the unsparing satire of
Erasmus and of the _Epistolæ Obscurorum Virorum_. When, therefore,
Reuchlin stood forward to protect Jews and Jewish literature against the
assaults of the renegade Pfefferkorn, the opportunity to destroy him was
eagerly seized. In 1513 a Dominican inquisitor, the Prior Jacob von
Hochstraten, came from Cologne to Mainz on an errand precisely similar
to that of his predecessor von Elten. Unlike John of Wesel, however,
Reuchlin felt that he could safely appeal to Rome, where Leo X. was
himself a man of culture and a Humanist. Leo was well disposed, and
commissioned the Bishop of Speier to decide the question, which was in
itself a direct blow at the inquisitorial power. Still more
contemptuously damaging was the bishop’s judgment. Reuchlin was declared
free of all suspicion of heresy, the prosecution was pronounced
frivolous, and the costs were put upon Hochstraten, with a threat of
excommunication for disobedience. This was confirmed at Rome, in 1415,
where silence was imposed on Reuchlin’s accusers under a penalty of
three thousand marks. The Humanists celebrated their victory with savage
rejoicing. Eleutherius Bizenus printed a tract summoning, in rugged
hexameters, all Germany to assist in the triumph of Reuchlin, in which
Hochstraten--that thief, who as accuser and judge persecutes the
innocent--marches in chains, with his hands tied behind his back, while
Pfefferkorn, with ears and nose cut off, is dragged by a hook through
his heels, face downwards, until his features lose the semblance of
humanity. The Dominicans are characterized as worse than Turks, and more
worthy to be resisted, and the author wonders what unjust pope and
cowardly emperor had enabled them to impose their yoke on the land.
These were brave words, but premature. The quarrel had attracted the
attention of all Europe, the Dominican Order itself and all it
represented were on trial, and it could not afford to submit to defeat.
Hochstraten hastened to Rome; the Dominicans of the great University of
Cologne did not hesitate to say that if the pope maintained the sentence
they would appeal to the future council, they would refuse to abide by
his decision, they would pronounce him to be no pope and organize a
schism, and much more, which shows upon what a slender tenure the papacy
held the allegiance of its Janissaries. Leo cowered before the storm
which he had provoked, and in 1416 he issued a mandate superseding the
sentence, but the spirit of insubordination was growing strong in
Germany, and Franz von Sickingen, the free-lance, compelled its
observance. As the Lutheran revolt grew more threatening, however, the
support of the Dominicans became more and more indispensable, and in
1420 Leo settled the matter by setting aside the decision of the Bishop
of Speier, imposing silence on Reuchlin, and laying all the costs on
him. Hochstraten, moreover, was restored to his office.[468]

The reparation came too late to render the Inquisition of any service,
now that its efficiency was more sorely needed than ever before. Had it
existed in Germany in good working order, Luther’s career would have
been short. When, October 31, 1517, he nailed his propositions
concerning indulgences on the church-door of Wittenberg, and publicly
defended them, an inquisitor such as Bernard Gui would have speedily
silenced him, either destroying his influence by forcing him to a public
recantation, or handing him over to be burned if he proved obstinate.
Hundreds of hardy thinkers had been thus served, and the few who had
been found stout enough to withstand the methods of the Holy Office had
perished. Fortunately, as we have seen, the Inquisition never had struck
root in German soil, and now it was thoroughly discredited and useless.
Hochstraten’s hands were tied; Doctor John Eck, inquisitor for Bavaria
and Franconia, was himself a Humanist, who could argue and threaten, but
could not act.

In France the University had taken the place of the almost forgotten
Inquisition, repressing all aberrations of faith, while a centralized
monarchy had rendered--at least until the Concordat of Francis I.--the
national Church in a great degree independent of the papacy. In Germany
there was no national Church; there was subjection to Rome which was
growing unendurable for financial reasons, but there was nothing to
take the place of the Inquisition, and a latitude of speech had become
customary which was tolerated so long as the revenues of St. Peter were
not interfered with. This perhaps explains why the significance of
Luther’s revolt was better appreciated at Rome than on the spot. After
he had been formally declared a heretic by the Auditor-general of the
Apostolic Chamber at the instance of the promoter fiscal, the legate,
Cardinal Caietano, wrote that he could terminate the matter himself, and
that it was rather a trifling affair to be brought before the pope. He
did not fulfil his instructions to arrest Luther and tell him that if he
would appear before the Holy See, to excuse himself, he would be treated
with undeserved clemency. After the scandal had been growing for a
twelvemonth, Leo again wrote to Caietano to summon Doctor Martin before
him, and, after diligent examination, to condemn or absolve him as might
prove requisite. It was now too late. Insubordination had spread, and
rebellion was organizing itself. Before these last instructions reached
Caietano, Luther came in answer to a previous summons, but, though he
professed himself in all things an obedient son of the Church, he
practically manifested an ominous independence, and was conveyed away
unharmed. The legate trusted to his powers as a disputant rather than to
force; and had he attempted the latter, he had no machinery at hand to
frustrate the instructions given by the Augsburg magistrates for
Luther’s protection. In the paralysis of persecution the inevitable
revolution went forward.[469]



There is no historical foundation for the legend that Peter Waldo’s
missionary labors carried him into Bohemia, where he died, but there can
be no question that the Waldensian heresy found a foothold among the
Czechs at a comparatively early date. Bohemia formed part of the great
archiepiscopal province of Mainz, whose metropolitan could exercise but
an ineffective supervision over a district so distant. The supremacy of
Rome pressed lightly on its turbulent ecclesiastics. In the last decade
of the twelfth century a papal legate, Cardinal Pietro, sent thither to
levy a tithe for the recovery of the Holy Land, was scandalized to find
that the law of celibacy was unknown to the secular priesthood; he did
not venture to force it on those already in orders, and his efforts to
make postulants take the vow of continence provoked a tumult which
required severe measures of suppression. In a Church thus partially
independent the abuses which stimulated revolt elsewhere might perhaps
be absent, but the field for missionary labor lay open and

We have seen how the Inquisitor of Passau, about the middle of the
thirteenth century, describes the flourishing condition of the
Waldensian churches in Austria, along the borders of Bohemia and
Moravia, and the intense zeal of propagandism which animated their
members. Close to the west, moreover, they were to be found in the
diocese of Ratisbon. That the heresy should cross the boundary line was
inevitable, and it ran little risk of detection and persecution by a
worldly and slothful priesthood, until it gained strength enough to
declare itself openly. The alarm was first sounded by Innocent IV. in
1245, who summoned the prelates of Hungary to intervene, as those of
Bohemia apparently were not to be depended upon, and there was evidently
no inquisitorial machinery which could be employed. Innocent describes
the heresy as established so firmly and widely that it embraced not only
the simple folk, but also princes and magnates, and it was so
elaborately organized that it had a chief who was reverenced as pope.
These are all declared excommunicate, their lands confiscated for the
benefit of the first occupant, and any who shall relapse after
recantation are to be abandoned to the secular arm without a hearing, in
accordance with the canons.[471]

We have no means of knowing whether any action was taken in consequence
of this decree, but if efforts were made they did not succeed in
eradicating the heresy. In 1257 King Premysl Otokar II. applied to
Alexander IV. for aid in its suppression, as it continued to spread, and
to this request was due the first introduction of the Inquisition in
Bohemia. Two Franciscans, Lambert the German and Bartholomew lector in
Brünn, received the papal commission as inquisitors throughout Bohemia
and Moravia. It is fair to assume that they did their duty, but no
traces of their activity have reached us, nor is there any evidence that
their places were filled when they died or retired. The Inquisition may
be considered as non-existent, and when, after a long interval, we again
hear of persecution, it is in a shape that shows that the Bishop of
Prague, like his metropolitan of Mainz, was not disposed to invite papal
encroachments on his jurisdiction. In 1301 a synod of Prague deplored
the spread of heresy and ordered every one cognizant of it to give
information to the episcopal inquisitors, from which we may infer that
heretics were active, that they had been little disturbed, and that the
elaborate legislation elsewhere in force for the detection and
punishment of heresy was virtually unknown in Bohemia.[472]

In 1318 John of Drasic, the Bishop of Prague, was summoned to Avignon by
John XXII. to answer accusations brought against him by Frederic of
Schönberg, Canon of Wyschehrad, as a fautor of heresy. The complaint set
forth that heretics were so numerous that they had an archbishop and
seven bishops, each of whom had three hundred disciples. The description
of their faith would seem to indicate that there were both Waldenses and
Luciferans--the latter forming part of the sect which we have seen
described about this time as flourishing in Austria, where they are said
to have been introduced by missionaries from Bohemia--and that their
doctrines have been commingled. They are described as considering oaths
unlawful; confession and absolution could be administered indifferently
by layman or priest; rebaptism was allowed; the divine unity and the
resurrection of the dead were denied; Jesus had only a phantasmic body;
and Lucifer was expected finally to reign. Of course there were also the
customary accusations of sexual excesses committed in nocturnal
assemblies held in caverns, which only proves that there was sufficient
dread of persecution to prevent the congregations from meeting openly.
The good bishop, it appears, only permitted these wretches to be
arraigned by his inquisitors after repeated pressure from John of
Luxembourg, the king. Fourteen of them were convicted and handed over to
the secular arm, but the bishop interfered, to the great disgust of the
king, and forcibly released them, except a physician named Richard, who
was imprisoned; the bishop, moreover, discharged the inquisitors, who
evidently were his own officials and not papal appointees. These were
serious offences on the part of a prelate, and he expiated his lenity by
a confinement of several years in Avignon. Possibly his hostility to the
Franciscans may have rendered him an object of attack.[473]

Papal attention being thus called to the existence of heresy in the
east of Europe, and to the inefficiency of the local machinery for its
extermination, steps were immediately taken for the introduction of the
Inquisition. In 1318 John XXII. commissioned the Dominican Peregrine of
Oppolza and the Franciscan Nicholas of Cracow as inquisitors in the
dioceses of Cracow and Breslau, while Bohemia and Poland were intrusted
to the Dominican Colda and the Franciscan Hartmann. As usual, the
secular and ecclesiastical powers were commanded to afford them
assistance whenever called upon. Poland, doubtless, was as much in need
as Bohemia of inquisitorial supervision, for John Muscata, the Bishop of
Cracow, was as negligent as his brother of Prague, and drew upon himself
in 1319 severe reprehension from John XXII. for the sloth and neglect
which had rendered heresy bold and aggressive in his diocese. This does
not seem to have accomplished much, for in 1327 John found himself
obliged to order the Dominican Provincial of Poland to appoint
inquisitors to stem the flood of heresy which was infecting the people
from regions farther west. Germany and Bohemia apparently were sending
missionaries, whose labors met with much acceptance among the people.
King Ladislas was especially asked to lend his aid to the inquisitors;
he promptly responded by ordering the governors of his cities to support
them with the civil power, and their vigorous action was rewarded with
abundant success.[474]

Among these heretics there may have been Brethren of the Free Spirit,
but they were probably for the most part Waldenses, who at this time had
a thoroughly organized Church in Bohemia, whence emissaries were sent to
Moravia, Saxony, Silesia, and Poland. They regarded Lombardy as their
headquarters, to which they sent their youth for instruction, together
with moneys collected for the support of the parent Church. All this
could not be concealed from the vigilance of the inquisitors appointed
by John XXII. No doubt active measures of repression were carried out
with little intermission, though chance has only preserved an indication
of inquisitorial proceedings about the year 1330. Saaz and Laun are
mentioned as the cities in which heresy was most prevalent. With the
open rupture between the papacy and Louis of Bavaria its repression
became more difficult, although Bohemia under John of Luxembourg
remained faithful to the Holy See. Heretics increased in Prague and its
neighborhood; after a brief period of activity the Inquisition seems to
have disappeared; John of Drasic, whose tolerance we have seen, was
still Bishop of Prague, and fresh efforts were necessary. In 1335
Benedict XII. accordingly appointed the Franciscan Peter Naczeracz as
inquisitor in the diocese of Olmütz and the Dominican Gall of Neuburg
for that of Prague. As usual, all prelates were commanded to lend their
aid, and King John was specially reminded that he held the temporal
sword for the purpose of subduing the enemies of the faith. His son, the
future Emperor Charles IV., at that time in charge of the kingdom, was
similarly appealed to.[475]

In the subject province of Silesia, about the same period, a bold
heresiarch known as John of Pirna made a deep impression. He was
probably a Fraticello, as he taught that the pope was Antichrist and
Rome the Whore of Babylon and a synagogue of Satan. In Breslau the
magistrates and people espoused his doctrines, which were openly
preached in the streets. Breslau was ecclesiastically subject to Poland,
and in 1341 John of Schweidnitz was commissioned from Cracow as
inquisitor to suppress the growing heresy. The people, however, arose,
drove out their bishop and slew the inquisitor, for which they were
subsequently subjected to humiliating penance, and John of Pirna’s bones
were exhumed and burned. The unsatisfied vengeance of Heaven added to
their punishment by a conflagration which destroyed nearly the whole
city, during which a pious woman saw an angel with a drawn sword casting
fiery coals among the houses.[476]

Bohemia and its subject provinces were thus thoroughly infected with
heresy, mostly Waldensian, when several changes took place which
increased the prominence of the kingdom and stimulated vastly its
intellectual activity. In 1344 Prague was separated from its far-off
metropolis of Mainz and was erected into an archbishopric, for which the
piety of Charles, then Margrave of Bohemia, provided a zealous and
enlightened prelate in the person of Arnest of Pardubitz. Two years
later, in 1346, Charles was elected King of the Romans by the Electors
of Trèves and Cologne in opposition to Louis of Bavaria, as the
supporter of the papacy; and a month later he succeeded to the throne of
Bohemia through the knightly death of the blind King John at Crécy.
Still more influential and far-reaching in its results was the founding
in 1347 of the University of Prague, to which the combined favor of pope
and emperor gave immediate lustre. Archbishop Arnest assumed its
chancellorship, learned schoolmen filled its chairs; students flocked to
it from every quarter, and it soon rivalled in numbers and reputation
its elder sisters of Oxford, Paris, and Bologna.[477]

During the latter half of the century, Bohemia, under these auspices,
was one of the most flourishing kingdoms of Europe. Its mines of the
precious metals gave it wealth; the freedom enjoyed by its peasantry
raised them mentally and morally above the level of the serfs of other
lands; culture and enlightenment were diffused from its university. It
was renowned throughout the Continent for the splendor of its churches,
which in size and number were nowhere exceeded. At the monastery of
Königsaal, where the Bohemian kings lay buried, around the walls of the
garden the whole of the Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelations, was
engraved, with letters enlarging in size with their distance from the
ground, so that all could be easily read. In the bitter struggles of
after generations the reign of King Charles was fondly looked back upon
as the golden age of Bohemia. Wealth and culture, however, were
accompanied with corruption. Nowhere were the clergy more worldly and
depraved. Concubinage was well-nigh universal, and simony pervaded the
Church in all its ranks, the sacraments were sold and penitence
compounded for. All the abuses for which clerical immunity furnished
opportunity nourished, and the land was overrun by vagrants whose
tonsure gave them charter to rob and brawl, and dice and drink. The
influences from above which moulded the Bohemian Church may be estimated
from a single instance. In 1344 Clement VI. wrote to Arnest, then simple
Bishop of Prague, calling attention to the numerous cases in his
diocese wherein preferment had been procured for minors either by force
or simony. The horror which the good pope expresses at this abuse is
significantly illustrated by his having not long before issued
dispensations to five members of one family in France, aged respectively
seven, eight, nine, ten, and eleven years, to hold canonries and other
benefices. Apparently the Bohemians had not taken the proper means to
obtain the sanction of the curia for such infraction of the canons, so
Clement ordered Arnest to dispossess the incumbents in all such cases,
and to impose due penance on them. But he was also instructed, in
conjunction with the papal collector, to force them to compound with the
papal camera for all the revenues which they had thus illegally
received, and after they had undergone this squeezing process he was
authorized to reinstate them.[478]

Such unblushing exhibitions of rapacious simony did not tend either to
the purity of the Bohemian Church, or to enhance its respect for the
Holy See, especially as the frequently recurring papal exactions
strained to the last degree the relations between the papacy and the
German churches. When, in 1354, Innocent VI., to carry on his Italian
wars, suddenly demanded a tenth of all the ecclesiastical revenues of
the empire, it threw, for several years, the whole German Church into an
uproar of rage and indignation. Some prelates refused to pay, and, when
legal proceedings were commenced against them, formulated appeals which
were contemptuously rejected as frivolous. The Bishops of Camin and
Brandenburg were only compelled to yield by the direct threat of
excommunication. Others pleaded poverty, and were mockingly reminded of
the large sums which they had succeeded in exacting from their miserable
subjects; others made the best bargain they could, and compounded for
yearly payments; others banded together and formed associations mutually
pledged to resist to the last. Frederic, Bishop of Ratisbon, took the
audacious step of seizing the papal collector and conveying him away to
a convenient castle. An ambush was laid for the Bishop of Cavaillon, the
papal nuncio charged with the business, and his life, and that of his
assistant, Henry, Archdeacon of Liége, were only saved by the active
interposition of William, Archbishop of Cologne. When, in 1372, the levy
was repeated by Gregory XI., the same spirit of resistance was aroused.
The clergy of Mainz bound themselves to each other in a solemn
engagement not to pay it, and Frederic, Archbishop of Cologne, promised
his clergy to give them all the assistance he safely could in their
refusal to submit. Trifling incidents such as these afford us a valuable
insight into the complex relations between the Holy See and the churches
of Christendom. On the one hand, there was the superstitious awe
generated by five centuries of unquestioned domination as the
representative of Christ, and there was, moreover, the dread of the
material consequences of unsuccessful revolt. On the other, there was
the indignation born of lawless oppression ever exciting to rebellion,
and the clear-sighted recognition of the venality and corruption which
rendered the Roman curia a source of contagion for all Europe. There was
ample inflammable material, which the increasing friction might at any
moment kindle into flame.[479]

Bohemia was peculiarly dangerous soil, for it was thoroughly
interpenetrated with the leaven of heresy. We hear nothing of papal
inquisitors after those commissioned by Benedict XII. in 1335, and it is
presumable that for a while the heretics had peace. Archbishop Arnest,
however, soon after his accession, set resolutely to work to purify the
morals of his Church and to uproot heresy. He held synods frequently, he
instituted a body of Correctors whose duty it was to visit all portions
of the province and punish all transgressions, and he organized an
episcopal Inquisition for the purpose of tracking out and suppressing
heresy. In the fragmentary remains of his synodal acts, the frequency
and earnestness with which this latter duty is insisted upon serve as a
measure of its importance, and of the numbers of those who had forsaken
the Church. In the earliest synod whose proceedings have reached us the
first place is given to this subject; the archdeacons were directed to
make diligent perquisition in their respective districts, both
personally and through the deans and parish priests, without exciting
suspicion, and all who were found guilty or suspect of heresy were to be
forthwith denounced to the archbishop or the inquisitor. Similar
instructions were issued in 1355; and after Arnest’s death, in 1364, his
successor, John Ocko, was equally vigilant, as appears from the acts of
his synods in 1366 and 1371. The neighborhood of Pisek was especially
contaminated, and from the acts of the Consistory of 1381 it appears
that a priest named Johl, of Pisek, could not be ordained because both
his father and grandfather had been heretics. What was this heresy that
thus descended from generation to generation is not stated, but it was
doubtless Waldensian. In this same year Archbishop John, as papal legate
for his own province and for the dioceses of Ratisbon, Bamberg, and
Misnia, held a council at Prague, in which he mournfully described the
spread of the Waldenses and Sarabites--the latter probably Beghards. He
sharply reproved the bishops who, through sloth or parsimony, had not
appointed inquisitors, and threatened that if they did not do so
forthwith, he would do it himself. When, ten years later, the Church
took the alarm and acted vigorously, the Waldenses of Brandenburg, who
were prosecuted, declared that their teachers came from Bohemia.[480]

In all this activity for the suppression of heresy it is worthy of note
that the episcopal Inquisition alone is referred to. In fact there was
no papal Inquisition in Bohemia. The bull of Gregory XI., in 1372,
ordering the appointment of five inquisitors for Germany, confines their
jurisdiction to the provinces of Cologne, Mainz, Utrecht, Magdeburg,
Salzburg, and Bremen, and pointedly omits that of Prague, although the
zeal of Charles IV. might have been expected to secure the blessings of
the institution for his hereditary realm.[481] This is the more curious,
moreover, since the intellectual movement started by the University of
Prague was producing a number of men distinguished not only for learning
and piety, but for their bold attacks on the corruptions of the Church,
and their questioning of some of its most profitable dogmas. The
appearance of these precursors of Huss is one of the most remarkable
indications of the tendencies of the age in Bohemia, and shows how the
Waldensian spirit of revolt had unconsciously spread among the

Conrad of Waldhausen, who died in 1369, is reckoned the earliest of
these. He maintained strict orthodoxy, but his denunciation in his
sermons of the vices of the clergy, and especially of the Mendicants,
created a deep sensation. More prominent in every way was Milicz of
Kremsier, who, in 1363, resigned the office of private secretary to the
emperor, the function of Corrector intrusted to him by Archbishop
Arnest, and several rich preferments, in order to devote himself
exclusively to preaching. His sermons in Czech, German, and Latin were
filled with audacious attacks on the sins and crimes of clergy and
laity, and the evils of the time led him to prophesy the advent of
Antichrist between 1365 and 1367. In the latter year he went to Rome in
order to lay before Urban V. his views on the present and future of the
Church. While awaiting Urban’s advent from Avignon, he affixed on the
portal of St. Peter’s an announcement of a sermon on the subject, which
led the Inquisition to throw him into prison, but in October, on the
arrival of the pope, he was released and treated with distinction. On
his return to Prague he preached with greater violence than ever. To get
rid of him the priesthood accused him to the emperor and archbishop, but
in vain. Then they formulated twelve articles of accusation against him
to the pope, and obtained, in January, 1374, from Gregory XI., bulls
denouncing him as a persistent heresiarch who had filled all Bohemia,
Poland, Silesia, and the neighboring lands with his errors. According to
them, he taught not only that Antichrist had come, that the Church was
extinct, that pope, cardinals, bishops and prelates showed no light of
truth, but he permitted to his followers the unlimited gratification of
their passions. Milicz undauntedly pursued his course until an
inquisitorial prosecution was commenced against him, when he appealed to
the pope. In Lent, 1374, he went to Avignon, where he readily proved
his innocence, and on May 21 was admitted to preach before the
cardinals, but he died June 29, before the formal decision of his case
was published. It is highly probable that he was a Joachite--one of
those who, as we shall see hereafter, reverenced the memory and believed
in the apocalyptic prophecies of the Abbot Joachim of Flora.[482]

The spirit of indignation and disquiet did not confine itself to
denunciations of clerical abuses. Men were growing bolder, and began to
question some of the cherished dogmas which gave rise to those abuses.
In the synod of 1384 one of the subjects discussed was whether the
saints were cognizant of the prayers addressed to them, and whether the
worshipper was benefited by their suffrages--the mere raising of such a
question showing how dangerously bold had become the spirit of inquiry.
The man who most fitly represented this tendency was Mathias of Janow,
whom the Archbishop John of Jenzenstein utilized in his efforts to
reform the incurable disorders of the clergy. Mathias was led to trace
the troubles to their causes, and to teach heresies from the
consequences of which even the protection of the archbishop could not
wholly defend him. In the synod of 1389 he was forced to make public
recantation of his errors in holding that the images of Christ and the
saints gave rise to idolatry, and that they ought to be banished from
the churches and burned; that relics were of no service, and the
intercession of saints was useless; while his teaching that every one
should be urged to take communion daily foreshadowed the eucharistic
troubles which play so large a part in the Hussite excitement. Yet he
was allowed to escape with six months’ suspension from preaching and
hearing confessions outside of his own parochial church, a mistaken
lenity which he repaid by continuing to teach the same errors more
audaciously than ever, and even urging that the laity be admitted to
communion in both elements. Mathias was not alone in his heterodoxy, for
in the same synod of 1389 a priest named Andreas was obliged to revoke
the same heresy respecting images, and another named Jacob was suspended
from preaching for ten years for a still more offensive expression of
similar beliefs, with the addition that suffrages for the dead were
useless, that the Virgin could not help her devotees, and that the
archbishop had erred in granting an indulgence to those who adored her
image, and that the utterances of the holy doctors of the Church are not
to be received.[483]

Other earnest men who prepared the way for what was to follow were Henry
of Oyta, Thomas of Stitny, John of Stekno, and Matthew of Cracow. Step
by step the progress of free thought advanced, and when, in 1393, a
papal indulgence was preached in Prague, Wenceslas Rohle, pastor of St.
Martin’s in the Altstadt, ventured to denounce it as a fraud, though
only under his breath, for fear of the Pharisees. All this, it is
evident, could only be favorable to the growth of Waldensianism, as is
seen in the activity of the sectaries. It was missionaries from Bohemia
who founded the communities in Brandenburg and Pomerania; and, as we
have seen, a well-informed writer, in 1395, asserts that they were
numbered by thousands in Thuringia, Misnia, Bohemia, Moravia, Austria,
and Hungary, notwithstanding that a thousand of them had been converted
within two years in the districts extending from Thuringia to

While Bohemia was thus the scene of an agitation the outcome of which no
man could foretell, a similar movement was running a still more rapid
course in England, which was destined to exercise a decisive influence
on the result. The assaults of John Wickliff were the most serious
danger encountered by the hierarchy since the Hildebrandine theocracy
had been established. For the first time a trained scholastic intellect
of remarkable force and clearness, informed with all the philosophy and
theology of the schools, was led to question the domination which the
Church had acquired over the life, here and hereafter, of its members.
It was not the poor peasant or artisan who found the Scriptures in
contradiction to the teaching of the pulpit and the confessional, and
with the practical examples set by the sacerdotal class; but it was a
man who stood in learning and argumentative power on a level with the
foremost schoolmen of the Middle Ages; who could quote not only Christ
and the apostles, but the fathers and doctors of the Church, the
decretals and the canons, Aristotle and his commentators; who could
weave all these into the dialectics so dear to students and masters of
theology, and who could frame a system of philosophy suited to the
intellectual wants of the age. It is true that William of Ockham had
been bold in his attacks on the overgrown papal system, but he was a
partisan of Louis of Bavaria, and, with Marsiglio of Padua, his aim had
merely been to set the State above the Church. With the subjection of
the empire to the papacy the works of both had perished and their labors
had been forgotten. The infidelity of the Averrhoists had never taken
root among the people, and had been wisely treated by the Church with
the leniency of contempt. It was the secret of Wickliff’s influence that
he had worked out his conclusions in single-hearted efforts to search
for truth; his views developed gradually as he was led from one point to
another; he spared neither prince nor prelate; he labored to instruct
the poor more zealously perhaps than to influence the great, and men of
all ranks, from the peasant to the schoolman, recognized in him a leader
who sought to make them better, stronger, more valiant in the struggle
with Apollyon. It is no wonder that his work proved not merely
ephemeral; that his fame as a heresiarch filled all the schools and
became everywhere synonymous with rebellion against the sacerdotal
system; that simple Waldenses in Spain and Germany became thereafter
known as Wickliffites. Yet the endurance of his teachings was due to his
Bohemian disciples; at home, after a brief period of rapid development,
they were virtually crushed out by the combined power of Church and

As the heresy of Huss was in nearly all details copied from his master,
Wickliff, it is necessary, in order to understand the nature of the
Hussite movement, to cast a brief glance at the views of the English
reformer. About four years after his death, in 1388 and 1389,
twenty-five articles of accusation were brought against his followers,
whose reply gives, in the most vigorous English, a summary of his
tenets. Few documents of the period are more interesting as a picture of
the worldliness and corruption of the Church, and of the wrathful
indignation aroused by the hideous contrast between the teaching of
Christ and the lives of those who claimed to represent him. It is
observable that the only purely speculative error admitted is that
concerning the Eucharist; all the others relate to the doctrines which
gave to the Church control over the souls and purses of the faithful, or
to the abuses arising from the worldly and sensual character of the
clergy. It was an essentially practical reform, inspired for the most
part with rare common-sense and with wonderfully little exaggeration,
considering the magnitude of the evils which pressed so heavily upon

The document in question shows the Wickliffite belief to be that the
popes of the period were Antichrist; all the hierarchy, from the pope
down, were accursed by reason of their greed, their simony, their
cruelty, their lust of power, and their evil lives. Unless they give
satisfaction “thai schul be depper dampned then Judas Scarioth.” The
pope was not to be obeyed, his decretals were naught, and his
excommunication and that of his bishops were to be disregarded. The
indulgences so freely proffered in return for money or for the services
of crusaders in slaying Christians were false and fraudulent. Yet the
power of the keys in pious hands was not denied--“Certes, as holy
prestis of lyvynge and cunnynge of holy writte han keyes of heven and
bene vicaris of Jesus Crist, so viciouse prestis, unkonnynge of holy
writte, ful of pride and covetise, han keyes of helle and bene vicaris
of Sathanas.” Though auricular confession might be useful, it was not
necessary, for men should trust in Christ. Image-worship was unlawful,
and representations of the Trinity were forbidden--“Hit semes that this
offrynge ymages is a sotile cast of Antichriste and his clerkis for to
drawe almes fro pore men.... Certis, these ymages of hemselfe may do
nouther gode nor yvel to mennis soules, but thai myghtten warme a man’s
body in colde if thai were sette upon a fire.” The invocation of saints
was useless; the best of them could do nothing but what God ordained,
and many of those customarily invoked were in hell, for in modern times
sinners stood a better chance of canonization than holy men. It was the
same with their feast-days; those of the apostles and early saints might
be observed, but not the rest. Song was not to be used in divine
service, and prayer was as efficient anywhere as in church, for the
churches were not holy--“all suche chirches bene gretely poluted and
cursud of God, nomely for sellynge of leccherie and fals swering upon
bokus. Sithen tho chirches bene dunnus of thefis and habitacionis of
fendis.” Ecclesiastics must not live in luxury and pomp, but as poor
men “gyvynge ensaumple of holynes by ther conversacion.” The Church
must be deprived of all its temporalities, and whatever was necessary
for the support of its members must be held in common. Tithes and
offerings were not to be given to sinful priests; it was simony for a
priest to receive payment for his spiritual ministrations, though he
might sell his labor in honest vocations, such as teaching and the
binding of books, and though no one was forbidden to make an oblation at
mass, provided he did not seek to obtain more than his share in the
sacrifice. All parish priests and vicars who did not perform their
functions were to be removed, and especially all who were non-resident.
All priests and deacons, moreover, were to preach zealously, for which
no special license or commission was required.

All these tenets of which they were accused the Wickliffites admitted
and defended in the most incisive fashion, but there were two articles
which they denied. Wickliff’s teaching so closely resembled that of the
Waldenses that it was natural that the orthodox should attribute to him
the two Waldensian errors which regarded all oaths as unlawful, and held
that priests in mortal sin could not administer the sacraments. To the
former, his followers replied that, though they rejected all unnecessary
swearing, they admitted that “If hit be nedeful for to swere for a
spedful treuthe men mowe wele swere as God did in the olde lawe.” As to
the latter, they said that the sinful priest can give sacraments
efficient to those who worthily receive them, though he receive
damnation unto himself. The prominence of the Fraticelli also suggested
the imputation that the Wickliffites believed the entire renunciation of
property to be essential to salvation; but this they denied, saying that
a man might make lawful gains and hold them, but that he must use them

All these antisacerdotal teachings flowed directly from the
resoluteness with which Wickliff carried out to its logical conclusion
the Augustinian doctrine of predestination, thus necessarily striking at
the root of all human mediation, the suffrages of the saints,
justification by works, and all the machinery of the Church for the
purchase and sale of salvation. In this, as in the rest, Huss followed
him, though the distinction between his principles and the orthodox ones
of the Thomists and other schoolmen was too subtle to render this point
one which the Church could easily condemn.[486]

The one serious speculative error of Wickliff lay in his effort to
reconcile the mystery of the Eucharist with the stubborn fact that after
consecration the bread remained bread and the wine continued to be wine.
He did not deny conversion into the body and blood of Christ; they were
really present in the sacrifice, but his reason refused to acknowledge
transubstantiation, and he invented a theory of the remanence of the
substance coexisting with the divine elements. Into these dangerous
subtleties Huss refused to follow his master. It was the one point on
which he declined to accept the reasoning of the Englishman, and yet, as
we shall see, it served as a principal excuse for hurrying him to the

Wickliff’s career as a heresiarch was unexampled, and its peculiarities
serve to explain much that would otherwise be incomprehensible in the
growth and tolerance of his doctrines in Bohemia, and in the simplicity
with which Huss refused to believe that he could himself be regarded as
a heretic. Although, as early as 1377, the assistance which Wickliff
rendered to Edward III. in diminishing the papal revenues moved Gregory
XI. to command his immediate prosecution as a heretic, yet the political
situation was such as to render ineffectual all efforts to carry out
these instructions; he was never even excommunicated, and was allowed to
die peacefully in his rectory of Lutterworth on the last day of the year
1384. No further action was taken by Rome until the question of his
heresy was raised in Prague. Although, in 1409, Alexander V. ordered
Archbishop Zbinco not to permit his errors to be taught or his books to
be read, yet when, in 1410, John XXIII. referred his writings to a
commission of four cardinals, who convoked an assembly of theologians
for their examination, a majority decided that Archbishop Zbinko had not
been justified in burning them. It was not until the Council of Rome, in
1413, that there was a formal and authoritative condemnation pronounced,
and it was left for the Council of Constance, in 1415, to proclaim
Wickliff as a heresiarch, to order his bones exhumed, and to define his
errors with the authority of the Church Universal. Huss might well, to
the last, believe in the authenticity of the spurious letters of the
University of Oxford, brought to Prague about 1403, in which Wickliff
was declared perfectly orthodox, and might conscientiously assert that
his books continued to be read and taught there.[487]

The marriage of Anne of Luxembourg, sister of Wenceslas of Bohemia, to
Richard II., in 1382, led to considerable intercourse between the
kingdoms until her death, in 1394. Many Bohemians visited England during
the excitement caused by Wickliff’s controversies, and his writings were
carried to Prague, where they found great acceptance. Huss tells us that
about 1390 they commenced to be read in the University of Prague, and
that they continued thenceforth to be studied. No orthodox Bohemian had
hitherto ventured as far as the daring Englishman, but there were many
who had entered on the same path, to say nothing of the secret
Waldensian heretics, and the general feeling excited throughout Germany
by the reckless simony and sale of indulgences which marked the later
years of Boniface IX. Thus the movement which had been in progress since
the middle of the century received a fresh impulsion from the
circumstances under which the works of Wickliff were perused and
scattered abroad in innumerable copies. All of his treatises were
eagerly sought for. A MS. in the Hofbliothek of Vienna gives a catalogue
of ninety of them which were known in Bohemia, and it is to those
regions that we must look for the remains of his voluminous labors, the
greater part of which were successfully suppressed at home. In time he
came to be reverenced as the fifth Evangelist, and a fragment of stone
from his tomb was venerated at Prague as a relic. Still more suggestive
of his commanding influence is the fidelity with which Huss followed his
reasoning, and oftentimes the arrangement, and even the words, of his

John of Husinec, commonly known as Huss, who became the leading exponent
and protomartyr of Wickliffitism in Bohemia, is supposed to have been
born in 1369, of parents whose poverty forced him to earn his own
livelihood. In 1393 he obtained the degree of bachelor of arts; in 1394
that of bachelor of theology; in 1396 that of master of arts; but the
doctorate he never attained, though in 1398 he was already lecturing in
the university; in 1401 he was dean of the philosophical faculty, and
rector in 1402. Curiously enough, he embraced the Realist philosophy,
and won great applause in his combats with the Nominalists. So little
promise did his early years give of his career as a reformer that, in
1392, he spent his last four groschen for an indulgence, when he had
only dry crusts for food. In 1400 he was ordained as priest, and two
years later he was appointed preacher to the Bethlehem chapel, where his
earnest eloquence soon rendered him the spiritual leader of the people.
The study of Wickliff’s writings, begun shortly after this, quickened
his appreciation of the evils of a corrupted Church, and when Archbishop
Zbinco of Hasenburg, shortly after his consecration in 1403, appointed
him as preacher to the annual synods, Huss improved the opportunity to
address to the assembled clergy a series of terrible invectives against
their worldliness and filthiness of living, which excited general
popular hatred and contempt for them. After one of peculiar vigor, in
October, 1407, the clamor among the ecclesiastics grew so strong that
they presented a formal complaint against him to Archbishop Zbinco, and
he was deprived of the position. By this time he was recognized as the
leader in the effort to purify the Church, and to reduce it to its
ancient simplicity, with such men as Stephen Palecz, Stanislas of Znaim,
John of Jessinetz, Jerome of Prague, and many others eminent for
learning and piety as his collaborators. To some of these he was
inferior in intellectual gifts, but his fearless temper, his unbending
rectitude, his blameless life, and his kindly nature won for him the
affectionate veneration of the people and rendered him its idol.[489]

Discussion grew hot and passions became embittered. Old jealousies and
hatreds between the Teutonic and Czech races contributed to render the
religious quarrel unappeasable. The vices and oppression of the clergy
had alienated from them popular respect, and the fiery diatribes of the
Bethlehem chapel were listened to eagerly, while the Wickliffite
doctrines, which taught the baselessness of the whole sacerdotal system,
were welcomed as a revelation, and spread rapidly through all classes.
King Wenceslas was inclined to give them such support as his indolence
and self-indulgence would permit, and his queen, Sophia, was even more
favorably disposed. Yet the clergy and their friends could not submit
quietly to the spoliation of their privileges and wealth, although the
Great Schism, in weakening the influence of the Roman curia, rendered
its support less efficient. Preachers who assailed their vices were
thrown into prison as heretics and were exiled, and the writings of
Wickliff, which formed the key of the position, were fiercely assaulted
and desperately defended. The weak point in them was the substitution of
remanence for transubstantiation; and although this was discarded by
Huss and his followers, it served as an unguarded point through which
the whole position might be carried. The synod of 1405 asserted the
doctrine of transubstantiation in its most absolute shape; any one
teaching otherwise was pronounced a heretic, and was ordered to be
reported to the archbishop for punishment. In 1406 this was repeated in
a still more threatening form, showing that the Wickliffite views had
obstinate defenders; as, indeed, is to be seen by a tract of Thomas of
Stitny, written in 1400. Already, in 1403, a series of forty-five
articles extracted from Wickliff’s works was formally condemned by the
university. Around these the battle raged with fury; the condemnation
was repeated in 1408, and in 1410 Archbishop Zbinco solemnly burned in
the courtyard of his palace two hundred of the forbidden books, while
the populace revenged itself by singing through the streets rude rhymes,
in which the prelate is said to have burned books which he could not
read; for his ignorance was notorious, and he was reported to have first
acquired the alphabet after his elevation.[490]

In the strife between rival popes it suited the policy of King
Wenceslas, in 1408, to maintain neutrality, and he induced the
university to send envoys to the cardinals who had renounced allegiance
to both Benedict XIII. and Gregory XII. In this mission were included
Stephen Palecz and Stanislas of Znaim, but the whole party fell, in
Bologna, into the hands of Balthasar Cossa, the papal legate (afterwards
John XXIII.), who threw them all in prison as suspect of heresy, and it
required no little effort to secure their release. This adventure cooled
the zeal of Stephen and Stanislas; they gradually changed sides, and
from the warmest friends of Huss they became, as we shall see, his most
dangerous and implacable enemies.[491]

In this affair the university had not seconded the wishes of the king
with the alacrity which he had expected, and Huss took advantage of the
royal displeasure to effect a revolution in that institution, which had
hitherto proved the chief obstacle in the progress of reform. It was
divided, in the ordinary manner, into four “nations.” As each of these
nations had a vote, the Bohemians constantly found themselves
outnumbered by the foreigners. It was now proposed to adopt the
constitution of the University of Paris, where the French nation had
three votes, and all the foreign nations collectively but one. The
vacillation of Wenceslas delayed decision, but in January, 1409, he
signed the decree which ordered the change. The German students and
professors bound themselves by a vow to procure the revocation of the
decree or to leave the university. Failing in the former alternative,
they abandoned the city in vast numbers, founding the University of
Leipsic, and spreading throughout Europe the report that Bohemia was a
nest of heretics. The dyke was broken down, and the flood of
Wickliffitism poured over the land with little to check its progress. In
vain did Alexander V. and John XXIII. command Archbishop Zbinco to
suppress the heresy, and in vain did the struggling prelate hold
assemblies and issue comminatory decrees. The tide bore all before it,
and Zbinco at last, in 1411, abandoned his ungrateful see to appeal to
Wenceslas’s brother Sigismund, then recently elected King of the Romans,
but died on the journey.[492]

This removed the last obstacle. The new archbishop, Albik of Unicow,
previously physician to Wenceslas, was old and weak, and more given to
accumulating money than to defending the faith. He was said to carry the
key of his wine-cellar himself, to have only a wretched old crone for a
cook, and to sell habitually all presents made to him. Thoroughly
unfitted for the crisis, he resigned in 1413, and was succeeded by
Conrad of Vechta, who, after some hesitation, cast his lot with the
followers of Huss. Yet, during these troubles, the papal Inquisition
seems to have been established in Prague, and, strangely enough, to have
seen nothing in the Hussite movement to call for its interference,
though it could act against Waldenses and other recognized heretics.
When, in 1408, the king ordered Archbishop Zbinco to make a thorough
perquisition after heresy, Nicholas of Vilemonic, known as Abraham,
priest of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Prague, was tried before the
inquisitors Moritz and Jaroslav for Waldensianism, and was thrown into
prison for asserting that he could preach under authority from Christ
without that of the archbishop. Huss interposed in his favor, but his
liberation was postponed through his refusal to repeat, on the Gospels,
an oath which he had already sworn by God. One of the accusations
brought against Huss at Constance was the favor which he showed to
Waldensian and other heretics; and yet, when he was about to depart on
his fateful journey to Constance, the papal inquisitor Nicholas, Bishop
of Nazareth, gave him a formal certificate, attested by a notarial act,
to the effect that he had long known him intimately, and had never heard
an heretical expression from him, and that no one had ever accused him
of heresy before the tribunal. The Hussite and Waldensian movements were
too nearly akin for Huss not to sympathize with the acknowledged
heretics, and in the virtual spiritual anarchy of these tumultuous years
Waldensian influence must have made itself more and more felt, and the
sectaries must have been emboldened to show themselves ever more

Everything thus conspired to accelerate the progress of the revolution.
Huss, who had hitherto, for the most part, confined himself to assaults
upon the local ecclesiastical establishment, began to direct his attacks
at the papacy itself, and in the writings of Wickliff he found ample
store of arguments, which he used with great effect. He also made use of
another of Wickliff’s methods by the employment of itinerant priests.
This was peculiarly well adapted to accomplish the object in view, for
the Bohemians were given to listening to sermons, and the unlicensed
preaching for which the negligence of the established clergy gave
opportunity had been a frequent source of complaint since the year 1371.
The repetition of the prohibitions shows their ineffectiveness; the
popular craving for spiritual instruction, which the Church could have
turned to such good account, was abandoned to the agitators; the people
flocked in crowds to hear them, in spite of priestly anathemas, and the
great mass of the nation, from nobles to peasants, eagerly adopted the
new doctrines, and were prepared to support them to the death.[494]

Matters were rapidly tending to an open rupture with Rome. In 1410 John
XXIII., soon after his accession, referred to Cardinal Otto Colonna the
complaints which came to Rome against Huss. On September 20 Colonna
summoned him to appear in person. He sent deputies, who appealed from
the cardinal to the pope, but they were thrown into prison and severely
handled; and while the appeal was pending, in February, 1411, Colonna
excommunicated him. On March 15 the excommunication was published in all
the churches of Prague save two; the people stood by Huss, and an
interdict was extended over the city, which was generally disregarded,
and Huss continued to preach. While affairs were in this threatening
position a new cause of trouble led to an explosion. Just as Wickliff
had been stirred to fresh hostility against the papacy by the crusade
which, under orders from Urban VI., the Bishop of Norwich had preached
against France for its support of the rival pope Clement VII.; just as
Luther was to be aroused from his obscurity by the indulgence-selling of
Tetzel when Leo X. wanted money, so the Bohemians were stimulated to
active opposition when John XXIII., towards the close of 1411,
proclaimed a crusade with Holy Land indulgences against Ladislas of
Naples, who upheld the claims of Gregory XII. Stephen Palecz, till then
associated with Huss, was dean of the theological faculty. His
experience of the Bolognese prison rendered him timorous about
withstanding John XXIII., and he declared that there was no authority to
prevent the publication of the indulgence. Huss was bolder, and a
controversy arose between them which converted their former friendship
into an enmity destined to bear bitter fruits. June 16, 1412, he held in
the Carolinum a disputation which was a very powerful and eloquent
attack upon the power of the keys, which lay at the foundation of the
whole papal system. Absolution was dependent on the subjective condition
of the penitent; as many popes who concede indulgences are damned, how
can they defend their pardons before God? the sellers of indulgences are
thieves, who take by cunning lies that which they cannot seize by
violence; the pope and the whole Church Militant often err, and an
unjust papal excommunication is to be disregarded. This was followed by
other tracts and sermons which aroused popular enthusiasm to a lofty
pitch. Wenceslas Tiem, the Dean of Passau, to whom the preaching of the
crusade in Bohemia was confided, farmed out the indulgences to the
highest bidders, and their sale to the people was accompanied by the
usual scandals, which were well calculated to excite indignation.[495]

A few days after the disputation a crowd led by Wok of Waldstein, a
favorite of King Wenceslas, carried the papal bulls of indulgence to the
pillory and publicly burned them. The well-known legend attributes to
Jerome of Prague a leading part in this, and relates that the bulls were
strung around the neck of a strumpet mounted on a cart, who solicited
the favor of the mob with lascivious gestures. No punishment was
inflicted on the participants, and Wok of Waldstein continued to enjoy
the royal favor. The defiance of the pope was complete, and the temper
of the people was shown on July 12, when in three several churches three
young mechanics named Martin, John, and Stanislas, interrupted the
preachers proclaiming the indulgences, and declared them to be a lie.
They were arrested and beheaded in spite of Huss’s intercession; many
others were imprisoned, and some were exposed to torture. Then the
people assumed a threatening aspect; the three who had been executed
were reverenced as martyrs; tumults occurred, and the prisoners were
released. Soon afterwards a Carmelite was begging at the doors of his
church with an array of relics displayed upon a table, with the
indulgences attached to them to excite the liberality of the pious. A
disciple of Huss denounced the affair as a fraud and kicked over the
table, and when he was seized by the friars a band of armed men broke
into the house and released him, not without bloodshed.[496]

John XXIII. could not avoid taking up the gage of battle thus thrown
down. The Bohemian clergy appealed to him piteously, representing the
oppression to which they were subjected, and stating that many of them
had been slain. He promptly responded. The major excommunication, to be
published in all its awful solemnity in Prague, was pronounced against
Huss; the Bethlehem chapel was ordered to be levelled with the earth;
his followers were excommunicated, and all who would not within thirty
days abjure heresy were summoned to answer in person before the Roman
curia. In spite of this Huss continued to preach, and when an attempt
was made to arrest him in the pulpit the threatening aspect of the
congregation prevented its execution. He appealed to a general council,
and then to God, in a protest which, in lofty terms, asserted the
nullity of the sentence pronounced against him. In his treatise “De
Ecclesia,” which followed not long after, he attacked the papacy in
unmeasured language borrowed from Wickliff. The pope is not a pope and a
true successor of Peter unless he imitates Peter; a pope given to
avarice is the vicar of Judas Iscariot. So of the cardinals; if they
enter save by the door of Christ they are thieves and robbers. Yet the
clergy, for the most part gladly, obeyed the bull of excommunication,
and Huss’s presence in Prague led to a cessation of all church
observances; divine service was suspended, the new-born were not
baptized, and the dead lay unburied. At the request of the king, to
relieve the situation of its tension, Huss left Prague and retired to
Kosi hradek, whence he directed the movements of his adherents in the
city and busied himself in active controversial writing, the chief
product of which was the “De Ecclesia,” which was publicly read in the
Bethlehem chapel on July 8, 1413.[497]

King Wenceslas had vainly tried to bring about a pacification of the
troubles in which passions were daily growing wilder, complicated by the
race hatred between Teuton and Czech. A confused series of disputations
and conferences and controversial tracts occupied the first half of the
year 1413, which only embittered those who took part in them and
rendered harmony more distant than ever. In fact there was no possible
middle term, no compromise in which the disputants could unite. It was
no longer a question of reforming the morals of the clergy, as to the
necessity of which all were agreed. The controversy had drifted to the
causes of clerical corruption, springing, as Wickliff and Huss and their
disciples clearly saw, from the very principles on which the whole
structure of Latin Christianity was based. Either the power of the keys
was a truth vital to the salvation of mankind, or it was a lie cunningly
invented and boldly utilized to gratify the lust of power and the greed
of avarice. Between these two antagonistic postulates dialectic subtlety
was powerless to frame a project of reconciliation, and argument only
hardened each side in its belief. One or the other must triumph utterly,
and force alone could decide the controversy. Wearied at last with his
unavailing efforts, Wenceslas finally cut the matter short by banishing
the leaders of the conservatives, Stephen Palecz, Stanislas of Znaim,
Peter of Znaim, and John Elias. Stanislas retired to Moravia, where,
after incredible industry in controversial writing, he died on the road
to the Council of Constance; Stephen survived him and revenged them

Huss and his adherents were now masters of the field; and though he
abstained from returning to Prague, except an occasional visit
incognito, until his departure for Constance, he could truly say, when
he stood up in the council to meet his accusers, “I came hither of my
own free will. Had I refused to come neither the king nor the emperor
could have forced me, so numerous are the Bohemian lords who love me and
who would have afforded me protection.” And when the Cardinal Peter
d’Ailly indignantly exclaimed, “See the impudence of the man,” and a
murmur ran around the whole assembly, John of Chlum calmly arose and
said, “He speaks the truth, for though I have little power compared
with others in Bohemia, I could easily defend him for a year against the
whole strength of both monarchs. Judge, then, how much more could they
whose forces are greater and whose castles are stronger than

       *       *       *       *       *

While thus in Bohemia the upholders of the old order of things were
silenced and reformation in the morals of the clergy was enforced with
no gentle hand, the news spread around Christendom that the long-desired
general council was to be convoked at last for the settlement of the
Great Schism, the reformation of the Church from its head downwards, and
the suppression of heresy. Many strivings had there been to effect
this, but the policy of the Italian popes, as at Pisa, had thus far
successfully eluded the dreaded decision. The pressure grew, however,
until it became overwhelming. With the rival vicars of Christ each
showering perdition upon the adherents of the others, the spiritual
condition of the faithful was most anxious and a solution of the
tremendous question was the most pressing necessity for all who believed
what the Latin Church had assiduously taught for a thousand years. The
politics of Europe, moreover, were hopelessly complicated by the strife,
and no peace was to be expected while so dangerous an element of discord
continued to exist. This was especially the case in Germany, where
independent princes and prelates each selected for himself the pope of
his preference, leading to bitter and intricate quarrels. Second only in
importance to this was the reform of the abuses and corruption, the
venality and license of the clergy, which made themselves felt
everywhere, from the courts of the pontiffs to the meanest hamlet.
Heresy likewise was to be met and suppressed, for though England could
deal single-handed with the Lollardry within her shores, the aspect of
matters in Bohemia was threatening, and Sigismund, the emperor-elect, as
the heir of his childless brother Wenceslas, was deeply concerned in the
pacification of the kingdom. In vain John XXIII. endeavored to have the
council held in Italy, where he could control it. The nations insisted
on some place where the free parliament of Christendom could convene
unshackled and debate unchecked. Sigismund selected the episcopal city
of Constance; John, hard pressed by Ladislas of Naples and driven from
Rome, was forced to yield, and, December 9, 1413, issued his bull
convoking the assemblage for the first of the following November. Not
only were all prelates and religious corporations ordered to be
represented, but all princes and rulers were commanded to be there in
person or by deputy. Imperial letters from Sigismund, which accompanied
the bull, gave assurance that the powers of State and Church would be
combined to reach the result desired by all.[500]

No such assemblage had been seen in Christendom since Innocent III., two
centuries before, in the plenitude of his power, had summoned the
representatives of Latin Christianity to sit with him in the Lateran.
The later council might boast fewer mitred heads than the earlier, but
it was a far more important body. Called primarily to sit in judgment on
the claims of rival popes, its mere convocation was a recognition of its
supremacy over the successor of Peter. From its decision there could be
no appeal, and the questions to be submitted to it were far more weighty
than those which had tasked the consciences of the Lateran fathers. From
every part of Europe the Church sent its best and worthiest to take
counsel together in this crisis of its fate--men like Chancellor Gerson
and Cardinal Peter d’Ailly of Cambrai, as earnest for reform and as
sensible of existing wrongs as Wickliff or Huss themselves. The
universities poured forth their ablest doctors of theology and canon
law. Princes and potentates were there in person or by their
representatives, and crowds of every rank in life, from the noble to the
juggler. The mere magnitude of the assemblage produced a powerful effect
on the minds of all contemporaries, and the wildest estimates were
current of the numbers present. One chronicler assures us that there
were, besides members of the council, sixty thousand five hundred
persons present, of whom sixteen thousand were of gentle blood, from
knights and squires up to princes. The same authority informs us that
there were four hundred and fifty public women, but an official census
of the council, carefully taken, reports that the number was not less
than seven hundred, and even _succubi_ were popularly said to have
joined in the nefarious trade. Thus the strength and the weakness, the
virtue and the vice of the fifteenth century were gathered together to
find relief as best they might for the troubles which threatened to
overwhelm the Church. After many doubts and much hesitation John XXIII.
fulfilled his promise to be present, relying upon his stores of gold to
win a triumph over his adversaries and over the council itself.[501]

It was inevitable that Huss should tempt his fate at Constance. To both
Sigismund and Wenceslas it was of the utmost importance that some
authoritative decision should put an end to the strife within the
Bohemian Church. The reformers had always professed their desire to
submit their demands to a free general council, and Huss himself had
appealed to such a council from the papal sentence of excommunication.
To hesitate now would be to abandon his life’s work, to admit that he
dared not face the assembled piety and learning of the Church, and to
confess himself a heretic. The host of adversaries in the Bohemian
clergy whom his bitter invectives had inflamed and whose preferment had
been forfeited through the agitation which he had led would surely be
there to blacken him and to misrepresent his cause, and all would be
lost if he were not present to defend it in person. They had long jeered
him for not daring to present himself to the Holy See in obedience to
its summons, and had pronounced blasphemous his appeal to Christ from
its excommunication. To hesitate to submit his cause to the council
would give his adversaries an inestimable advantage. Besides, incredible
as it may seem in view of the violence of his assaults upon the doctrine
which rendered the high places in the hierarchy profitable, and his
persistent denial of the validity of his excommunication, he believed
himself to be in full communion with the Church, that he would find the
council in sympathy with his views, and that certain sermons which he
had prepared would, when delivered before the assembled prelates, be
efficient in bringing about the reforms which he advocated. In his
singleness of mind he could not comprehend that men who had thundered as
vehemently as himself against current abuses and corruptions, but who
had not dared to assail the principles from which those evils sprang,
would shrink back aghast from his bolder doctrinal aberrations, and
would regard him as a heretic subject to the inquisitorial rule
prescribing the naked alternative of recantation or the stake.[502]

When, therefore, the imperial and royal wishes for his presence at
Constance were signified to him, with a promise of safe-conduct and full
security, he willingly assented, and so anxious was he to be present at
the opening of the council that he did not even wait for the promised
safe-conduct, which reached him only after his arrival there. That some
discussion took place among his friends as to the danger to be incurred
there can be no doubt. Jerome of Prague, when on his trial, asserted
that he had persuaded Huss to go, and Huss in one of his letters from
prison alludes to the warnings which he had received. He himself was
evidently not wholly without misgivings. A sealed letter left with his
disciple, Master Martin, not to be opened till news should be received
of his death, alludes to the persecution which he had suffered for
restraining the inordinate lives of the clergy, and his expectation that
it would soon reach its consummation. He makes disposition of his
slender effects--his gray gown, his white gown, and sixty grossi, which
comprise the whole of his worldly gear--and expresses his remorse for
the time wasted before his ordination, when he used to play chess to the
loss of his own temper and that of others. The unaffected simplicity and
pure-heartedness of the man shine like a divine light through the brief
words of his last request. A letter in the vernacular to his disciples
also announces his fear that his enemies may seek in the council to take
his life by false testimony. He asks the prayers of his friends that he
may have eloquence to uphold the truth and constancy to endure to the
last. Still, he did not wholly neglect precautions. Not only did he
procure from the inquisitor Nicholas, Bishop of Nazareth, the
certificate of his orthodoxy already alluded to, but he posted, August
26, throughout Prague a notice in Latin and Bohemian that he would
appear before the archbishop, then holding a convocation of the Bohemian
clergy, and challenged all who impugned his faith to come forward and
accuse him either there or at Constance, asserting his readiness to
submit to the punishment of heresy in case he was convicted, but that
accusers who failed should be subjected to the talio. When John of
Jessinetz, his representative, presented himself the next day at the
door of the convocation, he was refused admission on the pretext that
the body was deliberating on national affairs, and he was told to come
back another time. In the assembly of nobles, however, Huss obtained an
audience of the archbishop, who was also papal legate, and who declared
that he knew of nothing to render Huss guilty except that he ought to
purge himself of the excommunication. Of this a certified notarial
instrument was sent to Sigismund by Huss with the statement that under
the imperial safe-conduct he was ready to go to Constance to defend
publicly the faith for which he was prepared, if necessary, to die.[503]

Huss set out, October 11, 1414, under the escort and protection of John
and Henry of Chlum and Wenceslas of Duba, all his friends, and delegated
for the purpose by Sigismund. The cavalcade consisted of more than
thirty horse and two carriages. It was preceded, a day in advance, by
the Bishop of Lubec, who announced that Huss was being carried in chains
to Constance, and warned the people not to look at him, as he could read
men’s minds. Already his name had filled all Germany, and this
advertisement was an additional incentive for crowds to gather and gaze
on him as he passed. His reception served to foster the fatal illusions
which he nursed. Everywhere, he wrote to his friends, he was treated as
an honored guest and not as an excommunicate; no interdict was
proclaimed where he stopped to rest, and he held discussions with
magistrates and ecclesiastics. In all cities he posted notices on the
church-doors that he was on his way to Constance to defend his faith,
and that any one who desired to assail it was invited to do so before
the council. On reaching Nuremburg, October 19, in place of deflecting
to seek King Sigismund and obtain the promised safe-conduct, he
proceeded direct to Constance, while Wenceslas of Duba went to the court
and brought the document to him there a few days after his arrival. It
was dated October 18.[504]

On November 2 Huss reached Constance, to be greeted by a crowd of twelve
thousand men assembled to look upon the dreaded reforming heretic. The
council had not yet been opened. On the 10th a letter from one of the
party states that as yet no ambassadors from any of the kings had
arrived, and though John XXIII. was there with his cardinals, no
representatives from his rivals, Gregory XII. and Benedict XIII., had
presented themselves. What to do with the Bohemian Wickliffite was a
problem which puzzled pope and cardinal, and after much discussion it
was determined to suspend his excommunication, and permit him to
frequent the churches freely, at the same time requesting him not to be
present at the solemnities of the council, lest it might lead to
disorder. Considerable apprehension, moreover, was felt as to a sermon
to the clergy which he was understood to propose delivering. Huss
himself was utterly blind as to the position which he occupied. On
November 4, the day before the council was opened, he wrote to his
friends at home that overtures had been made to him to settle matters
quietly, but that he expected to win a great victory after a great
fight. On the 16th he mentioned that when the pope was celebrating mass
every one but himself had assigned to him some function in the ceremony,
and he characterized the omission as neglect, evidently considering that
his position entitled him to recognition and distinction.[505]

He knew that his opponents had not been idle, but he did not fear them.
He had been preceded in Constance by two of his bitterest
enemies--Michael of Deutschbrod, known as de Causis, and Wenceslas Tiem,
Dean of Passau--and these, in a few days, were reinforced by a more
formidable antagonist, Stephen Palecz, fully equipped with most
dangerous extracts from Huss’s writings. Wenceslas Tiem had been the
bearer to Prague of the bull offering indulgences for the crusade
against Ladislas of Naples, and his profitable trade had been broken up
by Huss. Michael de Causis had been priest of the Church of St. Adalbert
in the Neustadt of Prague; he had gained the confidence of King
Wenceslas by pretending that he could render profitable some abandoned
gold-mines near Iglau, and the king had intrusted him with a
considerable sum of money for the purpose. After working a few days at
the mines he decamped to Rome with the funds, which enabled him to
purchase a commission as papal procurator “_de causis fidei_,” whence
his appellation. He had already, in 1412, sent to Rome charges against
Huss, which the latter pronounced to be lies. The day after Huss’s
arrival in Constance, Michael posted on the church-doors that he would
accuse him to the council as an excommunicate and suspect of heresy, but
Huss treated the matter very lightly, and adopted the advice of his
friends to take no notice of it until the arrival of Sigismund, who was
not expected until Christmas. Meanwhile Huss himself gave ample cause
for adverse comment. So perfect was his sense of innocence and security
that he could not be content with prudent obscurity. Almost immediately
on his arrival he began to celebrate mass in his lodgings. This
attracted the people in crowds, and was necessarily a cause of scandal.
Otto, Bishop of Constance, sent John Tenger, his vicar, and Conrad
Helye, his official, to request Huss to cease, as he had long been under
papal excommunication; but he refused, saying that he did not consider
himself excommunicated, and that he would celebrate mass as often as he
pleased. Although thus defied, the bishop, to avoid disturbance,
contented himself with forbidding the people from attendance. Soon after
this Huss placed himself, with some provisions, in a covered
forage-wagon which was to be sent for hay. When the knights who were
responsible for him could not find him, Henry of Lastenbock (Chlum)
rushed to the burgomaster and demanded that he be searched for. The city
was in an uproar; the gates were closed, horse and foot were sent in
every direction to find him, and the circumstance was easily magnified
into an attempt to escape.[506]

The sturdy Bohemian was evidently a troublesome subject to deal with. In
the eyes of the faithful it was quite scandal enough to see at liberty a
priest who had openly defied a papal excommunication, and had defended
the recognized errors of Wickliff; there was, moreover, every
probability that he would carry out his audacious design of preaching to
the clergy a sermon in which the vices of the papal court and the
shortcomings of the whole ecclesiastical body would be pitilessly and
eloquently exposed, and it would be proved from Scripture that the whole
system had no warrant in the law of Christ. The path which the pope and
his cardinals had to tread in managing the council was likely to be
tortuous and thorny enough without this additional element of
disturbance and turbulence. It was far safer to disarm him at once, to
anticipate his attacks by treating him legally as one accused of heresy
and awaiting trial. Stephen Palecz and Michael de Causis, and a crowd of
other Bohemian doctors and priests whom Huss had roughly handled, had
already furnished ample material for his indictment, and in the
inquisitorial process the first step was to make sure that the accused
should not escape. Even had the case been one in which bail could be
taken, Huss had the whole kingdom of Bohemia at his back; bail to any
amount would be furnished and forfeited, and, once safe at home, he
would have laughed to scorn a condemnation for contumacy. Such might
reasonably be the arguments of the cardinals when the resolve was taken
to arrest him, but the execution of the design was either inexcusably
insidious, or the manifestation of irresolution which reached its
conclusion only by degrees. On November 28 the cardinals, in consistory
with the pope, sent to Huss’s lodgings the Bishops of Augsburg and
Trent, with Henry of Ulm, the burgomaster of Constance, to summon him at
once before them to defend his faith. The envoys greeted him kindly, and
though both he and John of Chlum protested that the summons was a
violation of the safe-conduct, he immediately consented to go, although
he said he had come to Constance to appear openly in the council, and
not secretly before the cardinals. He added that he could not be
imprisoned because he had a safe-conduct. John of Chlum and some friends
accompanied him to the palace occupied by the pope. When the cardinals
told him he was accused of disseminating many heresies, he replied that
he would rather die than be convicted of a single one; he had come with
alacrity to Constance, and if he was found in error he would willingly
abjure. To this the cardinals said, “You have answered well.” No
further examination was had, but John XXIII., whose policy was to
embroil the council with Sigismund, took occasion to ask John of Chlum
whether Huss had an imperial safe-conduct, to which Chlum replied,
“Holy father, you know that he has.” Again the pope asked the question
and received the same answer, but none of the cardinals requested to see
the document. When the morning session was over, guards were placed over
Huss and John of Chlum. The weary afternoon wore away in suspense, while
the cardinals held another session in which Stephen Palecz and Michael
de Causis were busy. The tedium of detention was only broken by a
simple-looking Franciscan, who accosted Huss and asked for instruction
on the subject of transubstantiation, and, on being satisfactorily
answered, inquired about the union of humanity and divinity in Christ.
Huss recognized that he was no simple inquirer, for he had asked the
most difficult question in theology; he declined further colloquy, and
on the retiring of the friar was informed by the guards that he was
Master Didaco, renowned as the subtlest theologian of Lombardy. About
nightfall John of Chlum was allowed to depart, while Huss was detained,
and soon after Stephen and Michael came exultingly and told him that he
was now in their power, and should not escape till he had paid the last
penny. He was taken under guard to the house of the precentor of the
cathedral, in charge of the Bishop of Lausanne, regent of the apostolic
chamber, and after eight days was transferred to the Dominican convent
on the Rhine. Here he was confined in a cell adjoining the latrines,
where a fever soon caused his life to be despaired of. His sudden death
would have been a most untoward event, and the pope sent his own
physicians to restore him. It was in vain that his friends in Prague
procured from Archbishop Conrad a declaration affirming that he had
never found Huss to vary from the faith in a single word. His fate had
already been virtually decided.[507]

John of Chlum’s first thought on regaining his liberty was to hasten to
the pope and to expostulate with him. When the safe-conduct had reached
Constance, Chlum had at once exhibited it to John XXIII., who is
reported to have declared, on reading it, that if his own brother had
been slain by Huss the latter should be safe while in Constance so far
as he was concerned. Now he disclaimed all responsibility and threw the
blame on the cardinals.[508] This question as to the safe-conduct and
its violation has been the subject of so warm a discussion, and it
illustrates so completely a phase of the relations between the Church
and heretics, that its brief consideration here is not out of place.

The imperial safe-conduct issued to Huss was in the ordinary form,
without limitation or condition. It was addressed to all the princes and
subjects of the empire, ecclesiastical and secular, and to all nobles
and magistrates and officials, informing them that Huss was taken into
the protection of the king and of the empire, and ordering that he be
permitted to pass, remain, and return without impediment, and that all
help which he might require should be extended to him. Thus it was not a
simple _viaticum_ for protection during the journey from Bohemia, and it
was not so regarded by any one. That it was intended as a safeguard
during the council and the return home is shown by its issue, October
18, after Huss’s departure from Prague, and its reaching him in
Constance after his arrival there. That his imprisonment was at once
looked upon as a gross violation of the imperial pledge is seen in the
protests which John of Chlum affixed to the church doors on December 15,
probably as soon as Sigismund could be heard from, and again on the
24th, when the king was near Constance and was to arrive the next day.
This paper recited that Huss had come under the imperial protection and
safe-conduct to answer in public audience all who might question his
faith. That, in the absence of Sigismund, who would not have permitted
it, and in contempt of his safe-conduct, Huss had been thrown into
prison. That the imperial ambassadors had vainly demanded his release,
and that when Sigismund comes he should plainly make known to all men
his grief and indignation at this violation of the imperial pledge.[509]

The suggestion that the safe-conduct was a mere passport designedly
insufficient to protect Huss is a recent discovery which would not have
been left to the ingenuity of modern times if it could have been alleged
during the warm debate which raged over the question at Constance. That
nobody thought of it then is sufficient proof that such an excuse is
untenable. Such an assertion would have been all-sufficient when, May
13, 1415, the Bohemians in Constance presented a memorial to the council
in which they referred to the treatment of Huss as a violation of the
safe-conduct. Yet in its answer the council had no thought of making
such an allegation, while at the same time Sigismund’s services in the
quarrel with John XXIII. were too recent, and still too necessary, for
the good fathers to inflict on him the disgrace of publicly declaring
that they had righteously overruled his attempt to protect a heretic.
They therefore had recourse to a lie manufactured for the occasion, by
asserting, in spite of the notorious existence of the safe-conduct in
Constance at the time of Huss’s arrest, that witnesses worthy of credit
had proved that it had not been procured until fifteen days after that
occurrence, and therefore that no public faith had been violated in the
proceedings. This argument, which Sigismund himself asserted to be false
in the public session of June 7, is an admission that the public faith
was violated. A single fact such as this outweighs all the special
pleadings of modern apologists.[510]

Sigismund at first fully justified the confidence reposed in him by Huss
and John of Chlum. He made no attempt to say that his letters were not
intended to protect Huss from prosecution, but treated them as having
been wrongfully violated. As soon as he had heard of the arrest he had
ordered Huss’s release with a threat to break open the prisons in case
of refusal. On his arrival at Constance, on Christmas Day, his
indignation was boundless and there was consequently great excitement.
He protested that he would leave Constance, and, in fact, made a show of
doing so; he even threatened to withdraw the imperial protection from
the council, but was plainly told by the cardinals that they would
themselves break it up unless he yielded. The hopes of Christendom had
been raised to too high a pitch as to the results expected from the
assemblage for him to venture on such a risk. Naturally faithless, his
insistence was a matter of pride, and self-interest easily won the day.
We have better materials for estimating his character than that of any
other prince of the century, and from first to last we find fully
justified the opinion of his contemporaries that he was wholly unworthy
of trust. During the long negotiations between the Council of Basle and
the Hussites, in which he took part, we see him endeavoring impartially
to deceive both sides, making solemn engagements with no intention of
fulfilling them, and regarded by all parties as utterly devoid of honor.
Unfortunate in war and chronically impecunious, he was ever ready to
adopt any temporary expedient to evade a difficulty, and to sacrifice
his plighted word to obtain an advantage.[511]

It cost him little, therefore, to withdraw from the assertion of his own
honor, and the matter was so speedily arranged that when on January 1,
1415, the council formally asked him that free course of justice be
allowed in the case of Huss, in spite of the pretext of safe-conduct, he
at once issued a decree declaring the council free in all matters of
faith and capable of proceeding against all who were defamed for heresy;
moreover, he pledged himself to set at naught the threats which were
freely uttered of defending Huss at all hazards. Yet the discussion
still continued during January, and the pressure on him from Bohemia was
so strong that for a while he still fluctuated irresolutely, but, April
8, he formally revoked all letters of safe-conduct. Huss himself had no
hesitation in declaring that he had been betrayed and that Sigismund had
promised his safe return. His friends took the same position. In
February an assembly of the magnates of Bohemia and Moravia, gathered at
Mezeritz, sent an address to Sigismund pointing out in language more
forcible than courtly the disgrace and humiliation attendant upon the
disregard of the imperial faith. Again, in May, after the flight of
John XXIII. had inspired new hopes as to the action of the council, two
similar assemblages held at Brünn and Prague approached him with even
stronger representations. It was all in vain. Sigismund had finally
taken his position, and he redeemed his hesitation with great show of
zeal. When, on June 7, Huss had his second hearing before the council,
Sigismund thanked the prelates for their consideration for him as shown
in their leniency to Huss, whom he sternly advised to submit, for he
could look for no human help; “We will never protect you in your errors
and pertinacity. Rather, indeed, than do so we will prepare the fire for
you with our own hands.” In the final session of July 6, Huss declared,
“I came freely to the council under the public faith promised by the
emperor, here present, that I should be free from all constraint, to
bear witness to my innocence and to answer for my faith to all who call
it in question.” With this he fixed his eyes on Sigismund, who