THE THRONE OF THE WORLD
dependency of Rome, had to pay tribute. The King of France was now compelled to abandon his English Crusade. Innocent threatened him with the ban if he laid hands on the newly acquired dominions of the Holy See.
The year following, 1214, Philippe Auguste defeated the German King Otto, who had formed an alliance with John Sansterre, in the Battle of Bouvines in Flanders. Then the spiritual and temporal nobles of England, under the leadership of Stephen Langton, pro- tected themselves against the autocratic dictates of their King, misrule and spoliation of the churches, by compelling him to sign the Magna Charta Libertatum in 1215. This basic law establishing the state as an aristocracy supported by the people became England's charter of liberal constitutional government and public law. Then Pope In- nocent, acting as protector of his vassal, repudiated the bill of rights thus obtained by "rebels who had had recourse to arms." Unmoved by the bitterness felt by all those involved, he hurled the anathema at them. Even the Primate was affected. The Pope had reason to fear that a people which obtained independence might dispense with his temporal power. In Shakespeare's King John one can still hearken to the echo of the storm the Pope aroused in England. It was only when the Barons called the armies of the Dauphin Louis VIII (whom Innocent also banned), and when John Sansterre died of hardships incurred during a gruesome flight, that his son Heniy III confirmed the Magna Charta. England remained a fief of the Pope until this relationship was formally abrogated by Parliament under Edward III in 1366.
In much the same way, the Pope took a hand in the politics of all other European countries. He compelled the Kings of Leon and Aragon to obey the marriage laws of the Church; he imposed on Aragon and Portugal the duty to pay tribute; he gave the Bulgarians and the Wallachs their kings; and he acted as arbitrator in Poland, Hungary, Dalmatia and Norway. He called the nations to a new Crusade, but against his will this ended in a siege of Constantinople. The leader of the fleet was the blind, nineteen-year-old Doge of Ven- ice, who was much more concerned with conquering the city than with wresting the Holy Land from Islam. Therewith the Byzantine Em-