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Cassino, a monk who between 1075 and 1080 provides a contemporary account of the Norman conquests in his L'Ystoire de li Normant, the Normans treated the vanquished Pontiff with humility and respect:

. . . li pape avoit paour et li clerc trembloient. Et li Normant vinceor lui donerent sperance, et proierent que securement venist lo pape, liquel meneront o tout sa gent jusque a Bonivent, et lui aministroient continuelment pain et vin et toute choze necessaire . . .

. . . the Pope was afraid and the clerics trembled. And the victorious Normans gave him hope, and offered the Pope safe conduct, and they took him and all his people to Benevento, and they continually gave him bread and wine and everything necessary . . .17

Six years later, they again showed that they could indeed respect the Papacy's spiritual authority, and they demonstrated that their ambitions could also have a religious side. At a synod held at Melfi in 1059, Pope Nicholas II sought the Normans as allies. He was a reformer, and he needed help in defending his claim to the Papal tiara from the anti-Pope Benedict X, who represented the old-guard of the Roman aristocratic families. Emperor Henry III had recently passed away, leaving the throne to his son Henry IV. The new German King (he could only become the actual Holy Roman Emperor by receiving consecration at the hands of the Pope) was only five years old at the time, so Nicholas could not look for help from him.18 The Papacy had bitterly resented the Byzantine Emperor ever since he had failed to help them at Civitate; moreover, the Eastern and Western Churches had been in an official state of schism since 1054.19


17.Aime, Moine du Mont-Cassin, L'Ystoire de li Normant, ed. M. Champollion-Figeac (Paris: Societe de l'Histoire de France, 1835), 3.38. Norwich 91-94.
18. Norwich, 120.
19. George Ostrogorsky, History of the Byzantine State, trans. Joan Hussey (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1995), 334-337. In that year, Cardinal Humbert of Silva Candida, Leo IX's papal legate, and Michael Cerularius, the Patriarch of Constantinople, had met in Constantinople to discuss various issues, especially that of Papal primacy over the four other Patriarchal Sees, upon which the Latin Christians and the Greek Christians disagreed. The meeting ended in disaster as Humbert and Michael each threw excommunications at the other.

 

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