Medieval Kings and Popes Essay

658 WordsMay 5, 20113 Pages
The Pope was the title give to the head of the church, to which he was changed with the religious care taking of the clergy and other believers. For military aid and expansion, early popes looked to medieval kings like Clovis of the Franks, but by the time of Charlemagne’s coronation by Pope Leo III, it became questionable whether the pope or the king was the higher authority. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Europe was decentralized with the development of feudalism, and this allowed the only unifying establishment, the Church, to become more powerful. Though the Pope and medieval kings originally held separate roles, with the rise of feudalism the popes gained greater political power despite challenges from kings and lay investiture.…show more content…
During this time, feudalism developed. In the feudal system, weak kings granted lands to greater lords in return for military aid. Greater lords in turn granted lands to lesser lords below them. These nobles governed all people, including clergyman to whom they granted a ‘fief” of land. When a clergyman, who were to pay their loyalty to the pope, became a vassal, or under the charge of a lord who granted him land, it gave the nobles and kings power. But because the papacy had the unified support of the larger peasant class and there were no strong kings to challenge him, the pope gained greater secular power than the nobility in addition to religious influence. Not only could he banish people from the Church through religious excommunication, but he could establish secular decrees like the Peace and Truce of God, which limited the appropriate locations and days for war. Secular powers such as these were previously reserved to kings, and illustrate that the pope due to the weakening of kings in the feudal system, held greater authority. Originally medieval popes and kings held separate roles: the pope was a religious caretaker and the king was a secular head. Beginning with the baptism of Clovis of the Franks in 481 A.D., a mutual alliance grew between the two powers, and through
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