Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/177

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157
PEDRO OF ARAGON. II.

Pedro was the suzerain of Béziers, and the young viscount was bound to him with ties of close friendship. Though when appealed to in advance for aid he had declined, yet when he heard of the sack of Béziers he hurried to Carcassonne to mediate if possible for his vassal, though his efforts were fruitless. He was everywhere regarded as a model for the chivalry of the South. Heroic in stature and trained in every knightly accomplishment, he was ever in the front of battle ; and on the tremendous day of Las Navas de Tolosa, which broke the Moorish power in Spain, it was he, by common consent, among all the kings and nobles present, who won the loftiest renown. In the bower he was no less dangerous than in the field. His gallantries were countless, and his licentiousness notorious, even in that age of easy morals. He was munificent to prodigality, fond of magnificent display, courteous to all comers, and magnanimous to all enemies. Like his father, Alonso II., moreover, he was a troubadour, and his songs won applause, none the less hearty, perhaps, that he was a liberal patron of rival poets. With all this his religious zeal was ardent, and he gloried in the title of el Catolico. This he manifested not only in the savage edict against the Waldenses, referred to in a previous chapter, but by an extraordinary act of devotion to the Holy See. In 1085 his ancestor, Sancho L, had placed the kingdom of Aragon under the special protection of the popes, from whom his successors were to receive it on their accession and to pay an annual tribute of five hundred mancuses. In 1204 Pedro II. resolved to perform this act of fealty in person. With a splendid retinue he sailed for Rome, where he took an oath of allegiance to Innocent, including a pledge to persecute heresy. He was crowned with a crown of unleavened bread, and received from the pope the sceptre, mantle, and other royal insignia, which he reverently laid upon the altar of St. Peter, to whom he offered his kingdom, taking in lieu his sword from Innocent, subjecting his realm to an annual tribute, and renouncing all rights of patronage over churches and benefices. As an equivalent for all this he was satisfied with the title of First Alferez or Standard-bearer of the Church and the privilege for his successors of being crowned by the Archbishop of Tarragona in his cathedral church. The nobles of Aragon, however, regarded this as an inadequate return for the taxes occasioned by his extravagance and for the loss of Church patronage, and their dissatis-