Week 28 – Conflicts between the emperors and the popes

Based on the video lessons and your reading, what were the reasons behind the conflicts between the emperors and the popes during this period?

It all started with Frederick Barbarossa. He was a bad, unreliable ruler, broke every promise he ever made and the popes didn’t like his behaviour. Not only did he want to rule over the Holy Roman Empire, he also wanted to control the Pope. The Pope forms alliance with Lombard cities, which form the Lombard league and together they try to protect their lands against Frederick. Frederick burns the city of Milan to the ground in response. The Pope alongside with Lombard league eventually defeat him and he acknowledges their independence. However, it doesn’t end here. After him comes Frederick II, who also broke his promises, mainly about leading a crusade, which he never showed up at. As if it wasn’t enough, he started plundering monasteries and hospitals in Sicily. He raised taxes in Sicily to support his struggles in Italy. Not long after that he was excommunicated.

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