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For what it's worth, I continue my IMHO sub-academic discussion of both differences and similarities on the subject of parallels to the caliphate, where I see a direct connection to the investiture conflict.

Unlike Islam or Confucianism, Christianity started out without a direct connection to state power, which it only gained in the 4th century when it was turned into the state religion of the Roman Empire. In the Roman Empire, and its descendant the Byzantine Empire, the Emperors developed an ideology of divine justification of power and exerted practical control over the church, which modern historians call Caesaropapism. But what is IMHO more interesting is what became of this tradition in the West.

When the Frank kings sought to re-establish the Roman Empire, this included the religious justification of power. For example, Charlemagne was quite brazen:

In any event, Charlemagne used these circumstances to claim that he was the renewer of the Roman Empire, which had apparently[citation needed] fallen into degradation under the Byzantines. In his official charters, Charles preferred the style Karolus serenissimus Augustus a Deo coronatus magnus pacificus imperator Romanum gubernans imperium[71] ("Charles, most serene Augustus crowned by God, the great, peaceful emperor ruling the Roman empire") to the more direct Imperator Romanorum ("Emperor of the Romans").

The claim of religious authority, of course, also translated into practical control of the Papacy. The investiture conflict was directly preceded by the church's rebellion against this:

Investiture Controversy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The crisis began when a group within the church, members of the Gregorian Reform, decided to rebel against the rule of simony by forcefully taking the power of investiture from the ruling secular power, i.e. the Holy Roman Emperor and placing that power wholly within control of the church. The Gregorian reformers knew this would not be possible so long as the emperor maintained the ability to appoint the pope, so their first step was to forcibly gain the papacy from the control of the emperor. An opportunity came in 1056 when Henry IV became German king at six years of age. The reformers seized the opportunity to take the papacy by force while he was still a child and could not react. In 1059, a church council in Rome declared, with In Nomine Domini, that leaders of the nobility would have no part in the selection of popes and created the College of Cardinals as a body of electors made up entirely of church officials. Once Rome regained control of the election of the pope, it was ready to attack the practice of investiture and simony on a broad front.

In 1075, Pope Gregory VII composed the Dictatus Papae. One clause asserted that the deposal of an emperor was under the sole power of the pope.[5] It declared that the Roman church was founded by God alone - that the papal power (the auctoritas of Pope Gelasius) was the sole universal power; in particular, a council held in the Lateran Palace from 24 to 28 February the same year decreed that the pope alone could appoint or depose churchmen or move them from see to see.[6] By this time, Henry IV was no longer a child, and he continued to appoint his own bishops.[5] He reacted to this declaration by sending Gregory VII a letter in which he withdrew his imperial support of Gregory as pope in no uncertain terms: the letter was headed "Henry, king not through usurpation but through the holy ordination of God, to Hildebrand, at present not pope but false monk".[7] It called for the election of a new pope. His letter ends, "I, Henry, king by the grace of God, with all of my Bishops, say to you, come down, come down!", and is often quoted with "and to be damned throughout the ages." which is a later addition.[7][8]

Note how Henry IV claims to be king "through the holy ordination of God" (rather than the Pope). It wasn't until the height of the investiture conflict that the Frankish empire began to call itself Holy Roman Empire, though. (Its claim of supremacy becoming increasingly hollow, it existed until the early 18th century.)

When compared to the Sunni Caliphate, what stands out to me is not the position of the Emperor but the position of the Pope.  AFAIK in Sunni Islam, you rarely find a top cleric with (at least symbolic) power comparable to that of the secular ruler (Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab is the exception); and even in Shi's Islam or Orthodox Christianity, the religious authority of top clerics is usually limited to a state.

How could the Papacy not just endure but strengthen after repeated attempts by rulers (not just Holy Roman Emperors but French kings, too) to make it their tool? I think the reason is less religious than political. Already before the investiture conflict, requesting a crown from the Pope was a means for kings of newly established Christian kingdoms to protect their independence from the two Empires (Byzantine and Frakish). In the first round of the investiture conflict, the Emperor had to back down because his barons used the occasion to rebel against his authority. There was loss of central control in Sunni Islam, too, but instead of using an independent religious authority as catalyst, the renegades established rival caliphates.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Jun 14th, 2016 at 12:46:22 PM EST
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