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The Concordat of Worms

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 15 December 2011

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Concordat of Worms. This treaty between the papacy and the Holy Roman Empire, signed in 1122, put an end, at least for a time, to years of power struggle and bloodshed. The wrangling between the German kings and the Church over who had the ultimate authority to elect bishops, use the ceremonial symbols of office in his coronation and even choose the pope himself, was responsible for centuries of discord. The hatred between the two parties reached such a pinnacle that it resulted in the virtual destruction of Rome at the hands of the Normans in 1084.

Nearly forty years later Emperor Henry V and Pope Calixtus II came to a compromise; their agreement became known as the Concordat of Worms, named after the town where they met and signed the treaty. The Concordat created a historic distinction between secular power and spiritual authority, and more clearly defined the respective powers of monarchs and the Church. Although in the short term the Concordat failed to prevent further conflict, some historians believe that it paved the way for the modern nation-state.

With:

Henrietta Leyser
Emeritus Fellow of St Peter's College, University of Oxford

Kate Cushing
Reader in Medieval History at Keele University

John Gillingham
Emeritus Professor of History at the London School of Economics and Political Science

Producer: Natalia Fernandez.

  • FURTHER READING

    Colin Morris, ‘The Papal Monarchy: The Western Church from 1050 to 1250’ (Oxford, 1989)

    Karl Leyser, ‘The Gregorian Revolution and Beyond’ (London, 1994)

    Kathleen Cushing, ‘Reform and the Papacy in the Eleventh Century: Spirituality and Social Change’ (Manchester, 2005)

    H. E. J. Cowdrey, ‘Pope Gregory VII, 1073-85’ (Oxford, 1998)

    I. S. Robinson, ‘Henry IV of Germany, 1056-1106’ (Cambridge, 1999)

    David J. Hay, ‘The Military Leadership of Matilda of Canossa’ (Manchester, 2008)

    Roger Collins, ‘Keeper of the Keys of Heaven: A History of the Papacy’ (Phoenix, 2009)

    Eamonn Duffy, ‘Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes’, 2nd ed. (Yale University Press, 2002)

    Miri Rubin and Walter Simons, ed, ‘Christianity in Western Europe, c.1000-1500’ (Cambridge University Press, 2009)

    R. W. Southern, ‘Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages’ (Penguin, 1990)

    U-R Blumenthal, ‘The Investiture Controversy: Church and Monarchy from the Ninth to the Twelfth Century’ (Philadelphia, PA, 1988)

    U-R Blumenthal, ‘The Early Councils of Pope Paschal II, 1100-1110’ (Toronto, 1978)

    I. S. Robinson, ‘Henry IV of Germany, 1056-1106’ (Cambridge, 1999)

    I. S. Robinson, ‘Authority and Resistance in the Investiture Contest: The Polemical Literature of the Late Eleventh Century’ (Manchester, 1978)

    I. S. Robinson, ‘The Papacy 1073-1198: Continuity and Innovation’ (Cambridge, 1990)

    G. Tellenbach, ‘Church, State and Christian Society at the Time of the Investiture Contest’, trans. R. F. Bennett (Oxford, 1940; also reprint, Toronto, 1991)

    G. Tellenbach, ‘The Church in Western Europe from the Tenth to the Early Twelfth Century’, trans. T. Reuter (Cambridge, 1993)

    B. Tierney, ed, ‘The Crisis of Church and State’ (Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1964; repr. Toronto, 1988)

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