Medieval Europe Essay

1811 Words 7 Pages
City, Church, and the Empire Many people depict medieval Europe as times of kings, knights, and epic battles that end in great bloodshed and loss. While these things are true, medieval Europe was much more than that. It was a time of controversy, strong and terrible leaders in politics as well as the church, and many changes in population and how the Europeans structured their culture. Writers and historians of this time period, like Thomas Aquinas and Thomas More, produced many works that told of the events in medieval Europe. These works use a few overarching themes to successfully portray the events of this time period. Three main categories describe Medieval European society—city, empire, and church. The cities that made up medieval …show more content…
Christianity was the most prominent religion in medieval Europe. The church and the many political leaders throughout Europe were in a constant power struggle. The church established a hierarchy of clergy throughout this time period as well. Pope Gregory the Great basically created the position of medieval pope. He was once a political figure in Rome, but departed from that path and entered a monastery. Gregory realized the purpose for his life and “by God’s grace, he turned his aptitude for worldly success wholly to the attainment of heavenly glory” (The Life of Gregory the Great, 187). He rises to higher offices within the church and ends up becoming the bishop of Rome. Clergymen believed that they should hold more power than the throne, while those on the throne believed the opposite. Some political leaders managed to maintain strong relationships with the church. Early leaders that accomplished this includes Charlemagne and Alfred. Pope Leo III anointed Charles during one of his visits to Rome. Charles was a strong believer in the church and he “practiced the Christian religion with great devotion and piety, for he had been brought up in this faith since earliest childhood” (The Emperor Charlemagne, 198). Alfred modeled his own rule after Charlemagne. Alfred believed that reading the Bible and the writings of clergymen strengthened Christian beliefs. Reforming the church greatly …show more content…
Greg wrote a series of rules regarding the power of the pope and one of his rules states “that he alone can depose or reinstate bishops” (The Papacy Lays Claim to Universal Empire, 245). Henry believed that the right to appoint clergy was his. The disagreement between the two occurred when each of these leaders believed that it was their right to appoint the new Bishop of Milan. Greg thought it was his right to grant power within the church and state. Henry thought that his authority came from God, not the church. This argument of which leader held the most power ended with Henry being excommunicated from the church by

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