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1418 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

should now be turned. To the endless misfortune of Rome, the remaining energy of

the Christian states-the residue of fanaticism which two centuries of war had not wholly consumed-was turned into the two

channels of open persecution for unbelief

and private inquisitorial tortures for the

heretical. The Church which had failed to

overthrow the Crescent in Asia, undertook

the extirpation of heresy in her own dominions. And the means by which she would

accomplish this result were far less honorable

to her judgment and conscience than were

the measures adopted to destroy the supremacy of the False Prophet in the East.

The horrid cruelties to which for several

centuries Europe was to be subjected for

opinion's sake were referable in a large

measure to the unexpired and malignant

energies of the Crusading epoch, misdirected

against the clearing judgment and rising conscience of the age.

Among the political effects of the Crusades, the most marked and important was

the stimulus given to monarchy at the expense of feudalism. At the outbreak of

the Holy Wars, Europe was feudal; at their

close, she had become monarchic. Not

that feudalism was extinct; not that monarchy was completely triumphant; but the

beginning of the new order of things had

been securely laid, and the extinction of the

old system was only a question of time. The

events which led to this result are easily

apprehended. The Crusades were the very

wheel under which feudalism might be most

effectually crushed. The movement at the

first was headed by feudal barons, but there

was a survival of the fittest. The fittest

became kings. The rest sank out of sight.

While the Crusades were thus bringing

princes to the front, a process of transformation was going on in the home states, out of

which the pilgrim warriors had been recruited. Here the smaller fiefs were rapidly

absorbed in the larger. The great and powerful barons grew towards the kingly estate,

and the feeble lords lost their importance

with their lands. At the close of the Crusades, the kings of the Western states found

themselves opposed by a less numerous

nobility; and many of the surviving grandees

were barons of low degree, or knights of shreds

and patches. In the contest that presently ensued, every circumstance favored the cause

of aspiring royalty as against that of the

feudal nobles.

Still more striking, however, was the influence of the Crusades in promoting the

growth and development of the free municipalities of Europe. First of all did the

maritime Republics of Italy feel the impetus

of prosperity and greatness under the agitation of the Northern states. It is in the nature

of war that it makes heavy drafts upon commerce and manufactures. The latter produce

and the former conveys to the destined field

the arms, munitions, and enginery necessary

to the success of the expedition. Before the

Council of Clermont the Italian Republics

had already grown to such a stature that

they were ready to avail themselves of every

opportunity to get gain. During the progress of the Holy Wars these sturdy maritime states sprang forward with rapid strides

and took their place among the leading

powers of the West. The general upheaval

of European society contributed wonderfully to the prosperity and influence of the

seafaring republicans who, caring but little

for the principles involved between the

Christian barons and the Moslems, were

ready with ships and merchandise to serve

whoever would pay for the use of their wharves

and fleets. During the latter half of the

thirteenth century nearly all the pilgrimages and expeditions to the East were conducted in Venetian vessels, though the

ships of Pisa and Genoa competed with their

more prosperous rivals for the carrying

trade with the ports of Syria, Egypt, and

Asia Minor. The squandered wealth lifted

by religious fanaticism from the products of

the peasant labor of France, England, and

Germany found its way to the Venetian merchants, and into the swollen coffers of the Roman See.

Not only did the crusading expeditions benefit of the Italian Republics,

but also to the general commerce of the

Western states. The naval enterprises were

conducted with so great success by the

merchant sailors of Italy that trading-ports

were established in the Levant, into which

were poured and out of which were exported

the riches of the Orient. Merchandising

became the most profitable of all pursuits.

Not only the cities of Italy, but those of