Friday, 21 February 2014

Church And State II

Poul Anderson, The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991).

Lorenzo de Conti:

causes timeline alpha by killing the king who would otherwise have halted the growth of Papal political power and who would also have become the grandfather of a strong Emperor;

causes timeline beta by marrying the woman who would otherwise have become the mother of a strong Pope and also by himself becoming the great-grandfather of an influential imperial adviser.

Thus, small changes in Lorenzo's life, like how he fares in battle or who he marries, have major impacts on the medieval church-state conflict.

In timeline beta, Frederick II, unopposed by any powerful Pope, starts to build an Empire that eventually encompasses Europe and North America, subordinates the Church, prevents any Renaissance, Reformation or scientific revolution and collapses into a dark age.

Only when the Papacy and the Empire prevent each other from gaining complete control can science and freedom grow in the space between them.

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