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tinent John had a difficult game to play. Normandy and Aquitaine submitted to him, but Anjou and its dependent territories declared for Arthur, who was Duke of Brittany in right of his mother. Philip II., who had long been the rival of Richar.l, now took the field in 1199 as the rival of John in support of Arthur ; but for the moment he ruined his chance of success by keeping in his own hands the castles which he took from John instead of making them over to Arthur. Arthur's supporters took offence, and in 1200 Philip made peace with John. Philip acknowledged John as Richard's heir, but forced him in return to pay a heavy sum of money, and to make other concessions.
3. John's Misconduct in Poitou. 1200—1201.—John did not know how to make use of the time of rest which he had gained. Being tired of his wife, Avice of Gloucester, he persuaded some Aquitanian bishops to divorce him from her, though he took care to keep the lands which he had received from her at her marriage. He then married Isabella of Angouleme, though she was betrothed to a Poitevin noble, Hugh of Lusignan. Hugh was enraged, and, together with many of his neighbours, took arms against John. In 1201 John charged all the barons of Poitou with treason, and bade them clear their character by selecting champions to fight with an equal number of English and Norman knights.
4. The Loss of Normandy and Anjou. 1202-1204.—The Poitevin barons, instead of accepting the wager of battle, appealed to Philip as John's over-lord, and in 1202 Philip summoned John to answer their complaints before his peers. John not only did not appear, but made no excuse for his absence; upon which the peers adjudged him to have forfeited all the lands held by him as Philip's vassal. After this Philip, in alliance with Arthur, invaded Normandy. John's aged mother, Eleanor, who was far more able and energetic than her son, took up his cause against her grandson Arthur. She was besieged by Arthur at Mirebeau when John came to her help, and not only raised the siege, but carried off Arthur as a prisoner. Many of his vassals rose against him, and finding himself unable to meet them in the field he wreaked his vengeance on his helpless prisoner. A little before Easter 1203 Arthur ceased
to live. How the boy died has never been known, but it was' generally believed that he was drowned in the Seine near Rouen— some said by his uncle's own hands. The murderer was the first to suffer from the crime. Philip at once invaded Normandy The Norman barons had long ceased to respect John, and very few of them would do anything to help him. Philip took castle after castle. John was indeed capable of a sudden outbreak of violence,
Effigy of King John Isabella, wife of King John.
on his monument in Worcester Cathedral From her monument at
but he was incapable of sustained effort. He now looked sluggishly on, feasting and amusing himself whilst Philip was conquering Normandy. "Let him alone," he lazily said; " I shall some day win back all that he is taking from me now." His best friends dropped off from him. The only fortress which made a long resistance was that Chateau Gaillard which Richard had built to guard the Seine. In 1204 it was at last taken, and before the end of that year Normandy, Maine, Anjou, and Touraine, together with part of Poitou, had submitted to Philip.
5. Causes of Philip's Success.—It was not owing to John's vigour that Aquitaine was not lost as well as Normandy and Anjou. Philip had justified his attack on John as being John's feudal lord, and as being therefore bound to take the part of John's vassals whom he had injured. Hitherto the power of the king over his great vassals, which had been strong in England, had been weak in France. Philip made it strong in Normandy and Anjou because he had the support there of the vassals of John. That these vassals favoured him was owing partly to John's contemptible character, but also to the growth of national unity between the inhabitants of Normandy and Anjou on the one hand and those of Philip's French dominions on the other. Normans and Angevins both spoke the same language as the Frenchmen of Paris and its neighbourhood. Their manners and characters were very much the same, and the two peoples very soon blended with one another. They had been separated merely because their feudal organisation had been distinct, because the lord over one was John and over the other was Philip. In Aquitaine it was otherwise. The language and manners there, though much nearer to those of the French than they were to those of the English, differed considerably from the language and manners of the Frenchmen, Normans, and Angevins. What the men of Aquitaine really wanted was independence. They therefore now clung to John against Philip as they had clung to Richard against Henry II. They resisted Henry II. because Henry II. ruled in Anjou and Normandy, and they wished to be free from any connection with Anjou and Normandy. They resisted Philip because Philip now ruled in Anjou and Normandy. They were not afraid of John any longer, because they thought that now that England alone was left to him, he would be too far off to interfere with them.
6. The Election of Stephen Langton to the Archbishopric of Canterbury. 1205.—In England John had caused much discontent by the heavy taxation which he imposed, not with the regularity of Henry II. and Hubert Walter, but with unfair inequality. In
1205-1206 JOHN'S QUARREL WITH THE POPE
1205 Archbishop Hubert Walter died. The right of choosing a new archbishop lay with the monks of the monastery of Christchurch at Canterbury, of which every archbishop, as the successor of St. Augustine, was the abbot. This right, however, had long been exercised only according to the wish of the king, who practically named the archbishop. This time the monks, without asking John's leave, hurriedly chose their subprior Reginald, and sent him off with a party of monks to Rome, to obtain the sanction of the Pope. Reginald was directed to say nothing of his election till he reached Rome ; but he was a vain man, and had no sooner reached the Continent than he babbled about his own dignity as an archbishop. When John heard this he bade the monks choose the Bishop of Norwich, John de Grey, the king's treasurer; and the monks, thoroughly frightened, chose him as if they had not already made their election. John had, however, forgotten to consult the bishops of the province of Canterbury, who had always been consulted by his father and brother, and they too sent messengers to the Pope to complain of the king. 7. Innocent III. and Stephen
Langton. 1206 The Pope was
Innocent III., who at once determined that John must not name bishops whose only merit was that they were good state officials. Being an able man, he soon discovered that Reginald was a fool. He therefore in 1206 sent for a fresh deputation of monks, and, as soon as they arrived in Rome, bade them make a new choice in the name of their monastery. At Innocent's suggestion they chose Stephen Langton, one of the most pious and learned men of the day, whose greatness of character was hardly suspected by anyone at the time.
Bishop Marshall of Exeter, died 1206; from his tomb at Exeter, showing a bishop vested for mass.
8. John's Quarrel with the Church. 1206—1208.—The choice of an archbishop in opposition to the king was undoubtedly something new. The archbishopric of Canterbury was a great national office, and a king as skilful as Henry II. would probably have succeeded in refusing to allow it to be disposed of by the Pope and a small party of monks. John was unworthy to be the champion of any cause whatever. In 1207, after an angry correspondence with Innocent, he drove the monks of Christchurch out of the kingdom. Innocent in reply threatened England with an interdict, and in the spring of 1208 the interdict was published.
9. England under :an Interdict. 1208.—An interdict carried with it the suppression of all the sacraments of the Church except those of baptism and extreme unction. Even these were only to be received in private. No words of solemn import were pronounced at the burial of the dead. The churches were all closed, and to the men of that time the closing of the church-doors was like the closing of the very gate of heaven. In the choice of the punishment inflicted there was some sign that the Papacy was hardly as strong in the thirteenth as it had been in the eleventh century. Gregory VII. had smitten down kings by personal excommunication; Innocent III. found it necessary to stir up resistance against the king by inflicting sufferings on the people. Yet there is no evidence of any indignation against the Pope. The clergy rallied almost as one man round Innocent, and songs proceeded from the monasteries which mocked the few official bishops who took John's side as money-makers who cared more for marks than for Mark, and more for lucre than for Luke, whilst John de Grey was branded with the title of that beast of Norwich.' John taking no heed of the popular feeling, seized the property of the clergy who obeyed the interdict. Yet he was not without fear lest the barons should join the clergy against him, and to keep them in obedience he compelled them to entrust to him their eldest sons as hostages. One lady to whom this order came replied that she would never give her son to a king who had murdered his nephew.
10. John Excommunicated. 1209.—In 1209 Innocent excommunicated John himself. John cared nothing for being excluded from the services of the Church, but he knew that if the excommunication were published in England few would venture to sit at table with him, or even to speak with him. For some time he kept it out of the country, but it became known that it had been pronounced at Rome, and even his own dependents began to avoid his company He feared lest the barons whom he had wearied with heavy fines