Alexius Part 30

To prevent the King’s becoming too insupportable by an alliance with Robert, he anticipated him in sending offers of peace to Robert, though before this he had not been friendly towards him. Hearing that Duke Robert had occupied Salernum, he started from Rome, and came to Beneventum, and after some intercommunication through ambassadors, they also had a personal interview in the following way. The Pope set out from Beneventum with his household troops, and Robert from Salernum with an army, and when the armies were at a convenient distance, each left his own men and advanced alone. The two then met, gave and took pledges and oaths, and then returned.

Duke Robert

The oaths were that the Pope would invest Robert with the dignity of king, and give him help against the Romans if the need should arise, whilst the Duke swore a counter-oath to assist the Pope whenever the latter called upon him. But truly these oaths taken by both of them were worthless. For the Pope was furiously incensed against the King, and in a hurry to begin war against him, whereas Duke Robert had his eyes fixed on the Roman Empire, and was gnashing his teeth, and whetting his anger like a wild boar.

So these oaths amounted to no more; than words. And the pledges these barbarians gave to each other one day, they violated the next. After the meeting, Robert turned his bridle and hurried to Salernum. And that Pope (whom I can only call “abominable” when I recall his inhuman outrages on the ambassadors), the Pope clad in spiritual grace and evangelic peace, started out for civil war with all his energy and might; yes, he, the man of peace, and the disciple of the Man of Peace!

For he immediately summoned the Saxons and their Counts Lantulphus [*Ludolf], and Velcus [*Welf], and besides other enticements held out to them, he promised to make them kings of all the West, and thus won them over to his side. You see how ever-ready a hand the Pope had for laying hands on the heads of kings, unheeding St. Paul’s advice “Lay hands hastily on no man,” [I Tim 22] for he bound the kingly fillet on the Duke of Lombardy’s head, and crowned these two Saxons.

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