HIST Lecture #13 10-4

HIST Lecture #13 10-4 - 10/4/11 Kings, Popes, and Crusades:...

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10/4/11 Kings, Popes, and Crusades: High Politics in the High Middle Ages Move away from decentralized control and begin seeing the rise of centralized states (France, England, etc.). Recentralizing was when kings began centralizing power once again and setting up monarch states. Crusades aren’t just an attempt to retake the Holy Lands, but a manifest of the conflict between Church and State. One of the legacies of feudalism is the rise of more centralized states. Kings stand at the top of the feudal hierarchy, even when they don’t have complete control. Technically, they are the chief lord and they use their relations to establish power. They establish law courts and bureaucracies. They try to subordinate the church. William the Conqueror from France defeats the Anglo-Saxons and sets up the Norman monarchy in England. Henry I and Henry II established greater control over local government and stripped feudal lords of their power. They relied heavily on their vassals. Royal law is administered mostly by the vassals. However, you couldn’t rely completely on them. The kings began deploying their own agents called counties who collected taxes and enforced royal law. They established courts outside of their own with judges that traveled and presided over local cases. The decisions of the king’s court set a precedent for future cases (Common Law). When the Supreme Court rules on something today, it becomes precedent and future judges must follow this ruling (stere decisis). The church always wanted to maintain its independence and jealously guarded this independence. Henry II drew the ire of the church when they ruled that the clergy had to be tried in the royal court instead of the church’s court. The archbishop of Canterbury named Thomas Beckett undermined Henry’s attempt to transform the court. He does everything he can to subvert this attempt, and Henry famously says “Who will forgive me of this troublesome monk.” His vassals then killed the monk. The Pope then excommunicated Henry. Henry backed down and submitted to a public flogging in front of the church. Slowly and surely, the kings dwindle away the autonomy of the church. Finally, Henry VIII separates from Rome and declares himself ruler of the sovereign
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HIST Lecture #13 10-4 - 10/4/11 Kings, Popes, and Crusades:...

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