MarginaliaThinges indifferent, as they be, so best to stand. Omnis mutatio penculosa. Apostrophe ad Archiepiscopos & alios.If commodity be estemed and waied, bothe Douer and Canterbury be farther of the hart of þe realme than is London. But if it goe by peace and quietnesse, it is good to stand so, as it doth, without any new innouatiō. So that euery byshop, in his vocation, serue the Lord and keepe his order, remembring the Prouerbe: Spartam nactus es, hanc exorna.
Spartam nactus es, hanc exorna.
John Wade, University of Sheffield
You possessed Sparta by birth, embellish this.
Proverb. Cf. Erasmus Adagia. 2.5.1.
Thus I haue described the troublous contention, betwixt Lanfrancus, and Thomas Metropolitane of Yorke, in the daies of Alexander, declaring by the way, the origine of the Metropolitane seates, and also the mutations and translations of other bishoppe seates, with in England. Now after the death of Alexander, let vs procede, by the grace of Christe, as we began to entreat of Hildebrandus þe next Pope folowing.
Although Gregory VII (1073-85) was only one of a number of reforming popes in the late eleventh century who sought to suppress clerical marriage and to end secular jurisdiction over the Church and its clergy, he was the one who most profoundly impressed contempories. Partly this was due to his dramatic conflict with Emperor Henry IV, but partly to his forceful personality and his complete inability to compromise. To Protestant reformers the causes for which Gregory had fought so hard were iniquitous and his spectacular, if ephemeral, triumph over Henry IV at Canossa made him the epitome of the antichristian pope inversing God's natural order. Their ability to demonize Gregory was enhanced by the emnities that Gregory had aroused in many of his contemporaries and the numerous hostile accounts they wrote about him.[Back to Top]
Foxe's account of Gregory first appeared in the 1563 edition and most of it is based on two sources. From Platina's history of the popes Foxe obtained his general narrative background, including the account of Canossa and the events leading up to it as well as the events leading up to Gregory's second excommunication of Henry, the excommunication itself and Gregory's expulsion from Rome. (See Bartomoleo Sacchi Platina, Historia de vitis Pontificum Romanorum, ed. Onuphrio Panvinio [Venice, 1562], fos.131r-135v. Foxe may have drawn on Platina - a writer whom he felt to be biased in favour of the papacy and whom he did not utilize often - not only for his detailed account, but because this material was so controversial that Foxe felt safer relying on, and citing, an account by a Catholic author. This way, if criticized, Foxe could declare that he was merely repeating what an internationally respected Catholic writer had stated. As it was, however, Foxe felt free to insert his own opinions into Platina's text, as when he declared flatly - and baselessly - that Matilda of Tuscany was Gregory VII's lover).[Back to Top]
Almost everything else in this account is drawn from Matthis Flacius's Catalogus testium veritatis (Strausburg, 1562], pp. 205-6, 211-212, 223-4 and 227-8. Because Flacius, while rich in anecdotal detail and documentation, did not providemuch in the way of background information, Foxe also drew on the annals of Lambert of Hersfeld for the synods at Mainz and Erfurt and clerical resistance to Gregory'sdrive for clerical celibacy. (See 'Lamberti Hersefeldenses annales a 1040-1077' inMonumenta Gemaniae Historiae, Scriptorum V [Hanover, 1845], pp. 217-18 and 30.This was an unusual source for Foxe to consult and he followed up references by Baleand Flacius to check it for himself. Again, this scrupulousness and care was probablydue to Foxe's concern about criticism, due to the controversial nature of the material.And Foxe could not resist including an unfounded account by Bale of Gregory VII, on his deathbed, repenting his wickedness; see Bale, Catalogus, p. 160.[Back to Top]
In the 1570 edition, Foxe - who had already printed a letter by Cardinal Benno, a staunch opponent of Gregory VII, describing the pope as a sorcerer - addedfurther letters by the Cardinal, detailing Gregory's crimes, including sacrilege againstthe Host and attempts to assassinate Henry IV. These letters were reprinted fromFlacius, Catalogus testium veritatis, pp. 220-5. No further changes were made to this account in subsequent editions of the Acts and Monuments.[Back to Top]
Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield
MarginaliaAnno. 1074. Hildebrandus seu Gregor vii. Hildebrand the cause of al this stoutnesse and pryde in prelates.This Hildebrād, as he was a sorcerer, so was he the first, and principall cause, of all this perturbation, that is now, and hath bene, sence hys time in the church: by reason that throughe hys example, all this ambition, stoutnesse and pride, entred first into the church of Rome, and hathe euer sence continued. For before Hildebrandus came to Rome, working there his feates, setting vp and displacing, what bishoppes he listed, corrupting them with pernicious counsel, and setting them against Emperours: vnder pretence of chastity destroying matrimonye: and vnder þe title of liberty, breaking peace, and resisting authoritye MarginaliaThe obedience of byshoppes in auncient time to Emperours.before this, I say, the churche of Rome was in some order, and bishops quietlye gouerned vnder christen Emperours, and also defended by the same. As Marcellus, Melciades, and Siluester were subdued, and vnder obedience to Constantius An. CCC. xl. Syricius to Theodosius An. CCC. lxxxviii. Gregorius to Mauritius An. vi. C. Hilarius to Iustiane Anno. D. xxviii. Adrianus and Leo to Carolus Magnus, Ann. Dccc.i. Paschalis and Valentius to Ludouicus Pius An. viii.C.xxx. Sergius xxix. vnto Lotharius Anno. viii.C.xl. Benedictus iii. and Ioannes ix. vnto Ludouicus persone of Lotharius Anno. viii.C.lvi. But thys obedience and subiection Hildebrand first began to spurne against, and by his example taught all other byshops to do the like.[Back to Top]
In so much, that at length they wrought and brought to passe, to be lawfull for a fewe curtisans and cardinals (contrary to auncient ordinaunce and statutes decretall) to chuse what Pope they list, without any consent of the Emperour at al. And where as before it stode in the Emperours gifte, to geue and graunt bishopprikes, Archbishopprickes, benefices and other ecclesiasticall prefermentes wythin their owne limites, to whome they liste: MarginaliaWhat Popes haue done.nowe the Popes, through much wrastling, warres, and contention, haue extorted al that to theyr owne handes, and to their assignes, yea, haue pluckt in, all the richesse and power of the whole world. And not content with that, haue vsarped and preuayled so much aboue Emperoures, that, as before no Pope might be chosen without the confirmation of the Emperoure, MarginaliaPopes more than Princes.so nowe no Emperoure may be elected wythout the confirmation of the Pope, takinge vppon them more than Princes, to place or displace Emperoures at their pleasure, for euerye lighte cause: to put downe or to set vp, when, and whome they lysted, as MarginaliaFridericus primus, shent for holding the Popes left stirrup.Fridericus primus, for holding the left stirrup of þe Popes horse, was persecuted almost to excōmunication. The which cause moueth me, to strein more dilgence here, in setting out the history, actes, and doinges of Hildebrande, from whome, as the first patrone and founder, sprong all this ambitious contention, aboute the lyberties and dominion of the Romain church, to the entent, that such as can not read the Laten hystories, may vnderstand in Englishe, the originall of euils. how, and by what occasion fyrste they began, and how long they haue continued.[Back to Top]
And first how this Hildebrand hitherto hath behaued him selfe before he was Pope, I haue partlye declared. For thoughe he was not yet Pope in name, yet he was there Pope in dede, and ruled the Popes, and all their doynges, as him lusted. Item what wais and fetches he hath attempted euer sence his first comminge to the court of Rome, to magnify and maintaine false liberty, against true authority, what practise he wrought by councels, what factions and conspiracies he made in stirring vp popes against Emperours, striuing for superioriti, & what warres folowed there of, I haue also expressed. MarginaliaEx Auentino & aliis.Now let vs see further (by the healpe of Christ) the worthy vertues of this princely prelate after he cam to be pope, as they remain in histories of diuers and sondry wryters described.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaGregorius vii.THe wordes of the laten history be these in English. Hactenus pontifices Rom. comitijs curiatis, calatis, a sacerdotibus, equitatu, plebe, Senatu. &c. Hetherto the byshops of