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He is even said to have promised that anyone who died in battle with the Normans would become a martyr and go directly to heaven. Leo offered absolution in exchange for military assistance, just as Pope Urban II would do for the First Crusaders at the Council of Clermont in 1095. Civitate is the first example of the Pope directly declaring Holy War: but this time it was against fellow Christians, and it occurred 42 years before Urban called for the First Crusade to recapture the Holy Land from the Muslims.36

The Normans defeated Leo, however, so it is a bit surprising that subsequent Popes continued to declare wars for the salvation of Christendom, and that the Normans themselves would often be at the forefront of these Holy Wars. The synod of Melfi in 1059 shows that the Papacy had not at all given up on the idea of the Holy War; Pope Nicholas II seems simply to have realized that future Crusades would be more appropriately fought against non-Christians, and that the Papacy needed to be more selective when conscripting "soldiers of Christ" before it declared any more Crusades. Facing troubles in Rome and lacking the support of the Eastern and Western Emperors, Nicholas decided that it was in the Apostolic See's best interests to have the fierce Norman warriors on its side.

As described above, the synod made the Normans the official feudal protectors of the Papacy. They were henceforth responsible not only for safeguarding the material possessions of the Pope--his lands and revenues--but they were also charged with making sure nothing prevented the cardinal bishops from conducting canonical Papal

 

 


36. Douglas, The Norman Achievement, 99-100. Jonathan Riley-Smith, ed., The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 78. Steven Runciman, The First Crusade (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 42f.
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