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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Even that of the monks of Cluny


Methods of warfare.]

Military service was obligatory upon all, but except for a small royal guard there was no permanent army. Organization continued to be simple; the seigniorial troops were commanded by the lord or his representative, and the militia of the towns by an _alf?rez_ (standard-bearer).[23] Large numbers of foreigners joined in the wars against the Moslems, but perhaps the most important element was that of the military orders. These orders had a mixed religious and secular character, for, while some members took the usual monastic vows, others were not required to do so. Aside from the orders of general European prominence, like that of the Templars, there were three which were confined to the peninsula, those of Calatrava, Santiago, and Alc?ntara, all formed in the middle of the twelfth century. Their membership became so numerous and their wealth so great that they constituted one more important force with which the kings had to reckon in the struggle for the establishment of royal authority, although the peril proved greater in its possibilities than in the fact. War was absolutely merciless, falling quite as heavily on the non-combatant as upon the opponent with arms in his hands. The enemy population might be subjected to the loss of their lands and to enslavement, unless this seemed inadvisable, and pillage was legally recognized, with a share of the booty going to the king. Such weapons as the sword, lance, and pike were

still the principal types. The use of flags was introduced as a means of inciting the troops to deeds of valor, while priests were employed to provide a like stimulus. The first navy in this part of Spain was the private fleet of Bishop Gelm?rez of Santiago de Compostela. Private navies were the rule. The first royal navy was formed by Ferdinand III, as a result of the important part played by the private naval levies which had assisted in the taking of Seville.

[Sidenote: The monks of Cluny and church reform.]

Notwithstanding the increase in privileges accorded the church, the king had always intervened in its affairs,--as by the appointment or deposition of bishops, and even by taking under his own jurisdiction certain cases on appeal from the ecclesiastical courts. The monks of Cluny, influential in so many respects, set about to uproot the dependence of the church upon the king and to bring about a closer relation of the clergy with the papacy. Aided by the piety of the kings themselves they were able to achieve their ends, although the monarchs maintained that the pope's measures should not be valid in the royal dominions without governmental consent. Thenceforth, the pope and his legates began to take the place of the king in church affairs. The same centralizing policy of the monks of Cluny and the great popes of the era was employed to bring the Castilian church into uniformity with that of Rome in matters of doctrine and rite. Some difficulty was experienced in the latter respect, for the Spanish people were attached to their form of worship, which was called the Visigothic, or Mozarabic, rite. Earlier popes had recognized this as orthodox, but Gregory VII asked Alfonso VI to abolish it. The king was willing, but the people and the clergy were not. The matter was once left to the decision of the wager of battle, and again to that of fire, but in each case the local rite came out victorious. Finally, the king rode roughshod over judicial proofs, and abolished the local rite.[24] It was in this period, therefore, that the hierarchy of the church, depending on the pope, was established in Spain. At this time, too, the monasteries (and the military orders as well) became independent of the bishops, and ascended to the pope, or his legate, through the medium of their abbots (or grand masters). The increasing wealth and privileges of the church have already been sufficiently alluded to; many of the orders degenerated greatly, even that of the monks of Cluny, as a result of the luxury which their means permitted. At the moment when clerical ostentation had become greatest there came the founding of the mendicant orders, early in the thirteenth century. In the peninsula, as elsewhere, these orders (whose principal vow was poverty) achieved a great work for the church; the Franciscans went chiefly among the poor, and the Dominicans dealt more with the upper classes, but both preached the necessity for repentance and for conversion to the faith.[25] They also contributed greatly to doing away with the loose practices which had become current among the clergy in all parts of Christendom. One such practice persisted, despite their efforts, the earlier efforts of the monks of Cluny, and the continuous opposition of the kings (translated into severe laws),--that of priests entering into the form of union called _barragan?a_.

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