Battle at Canossa

At the meeting in Canossa between Henry IV and Gregory VII, it may appear that Gregory had been victorious. He showed his power over the king by excommunicating him and denying him his throne until he gave penance. But, in actuality, Henry was the victor. By saying he was sorry for his sins by the doing of his penance, the pope had no other choice than to accept Henry back to the church and back to his throne. If a sinner comes to the pope and asks for forgiveness, the pope is obligated by his spiritual duties to forgive him. Gregory did not want to accept Henry back on his own will, but rather the will of God and of the people. The pope's power over the king was limited.
The showdown at Canossa was not the end of the confrontations between Gregory and Henry. Germany and Italy were at battle between each other and Germany had elected their own king, Rudolph of Swabia, the anti-king. Gregory VII had again tried to excommunicate Henry IV, but at this time he had no power over the king for the people had turned against the pope. The bishops had elected another pope, the anti-pope. Cruel and atrocious civil war continued. Henry and Rudolph battled against each other and Rudolph was killed. After the death of Rudolph, Henry went to Rome and conquered it. He also installed an anti-pope who crowned Henry emperor. In return, Gregory called for help to the Normans in northern Italy. They agreed to help and kicked Henry out of Rome. The Normans were angered that Rome surrendered to the pope's enemies so they committed several brutal crimes against the Romans. The Romans blamed these acts of brutality on Gregory and consequently he traveled back to northern Italy with the Normans to seek refuge.
The struggle of lay investiture was still not over. A compromise could not be reached until 1122 AD. This agreement was the Concordat of Worms. Popes were now in charge of investing the bishops with the symbols of spiritual office. The e…


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