In Our Time

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Society & Culture, History

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Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of ideas


The Concordat of Worms

December 15th, 2011

Episode 170 of 517 episodes

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Concordat of Worms. This treaty between the papacy and the Holy Roman Empire, signed in 1122, put an end, at least for a time, to years of power struggle and bloodshed. The wrangling between the German kings and the Church over who had the ultimate authority to elect bishops, use the ceremonial symbols of office in his coronation and even choose the pope himself, was responsible for centuries of discord. The hatred between the two parties reached such a pinnacle that it resulted in the virtual destruction of Rome at the hands of the Normans in 1084.Nearly forty years later Emperor Henry V and Pope Calixtus II came to a compromise; their agreement became known as the Concordat of Worms, named after the town where they met and signed the treaty. The Concordat created a historic distinction between secular power and spiritual authority, and more clearly defined the respective powers of monarchs and the Church. Although in the short term the Concordat failed to prevent further conflict, some historians believe that it paved the way for the modern nation-state.With:Henrietta LeyserEmeritus Fellow of St Peter's College, University of OxfordKate CushingReader in Medieval History at Keele University John Gillingham Emeritus Professor of History at the London School of Economics and Political Science Producer: Natalia Fernandez.

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