Hints and Allegations: The Charge of Infidelity in Papal and Imperial Propaganda, 1239–1245

  • John Phillip Lomax
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


The lifelong relationship between Emperor Frederick II Hohenstaufen and the papacy was frequently troubled, but in the main both parties strove to manage this relationship productively. In 1227, 1239, and 1245, however, tensions between Frederick and the popes escalated into open conflict. They became adversaries and adopted adversarial tactics. Among these were political manifestoes that circulated widely throughout Christendom. Frederick and the popes built their cases against one another around a hard core of legal argument. Since most of these conflicts occurred (metaphorically) on papal turf, canon law took the lead, but Roman law, feudal customs, and contemporary jurisprudence contributed to their arguments. The decrees and political encyclicals of Frederick II and the popes illustrate the high medieval ius commune in action. It is not possible to understand properly the political programs of the popes or the emperor—at peace or at war—without attending to the legal arguments on which they rested their claims.


Papal Office Thirteenth Century Legal Argument General Council Catholic Faith 
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© Karen Bollermann, Thomas M. Izbicki, and Cary J. Nederman 2014

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  • John Phillip Lomax

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