A letter from Bernard of Clairvaux, abbot (1135)
To the Empress of the Romans.
In the reconciliation of the Milanese, we have not forgotten whereof we were warned by your excellence. Though you did not remind us, we would be nonetheless mindful of your honor and the benefit of the kingdom, as we do what we can everywhere and always faithfully. For the Milanese were certainly not received into the grace of the lord pope and the unity of the church before they received our lord Lothar as their lord and king, having rejected and denied Conrad openly, and one with the whole world professed him the august emperor of the Romans, and promised having touched the holy gospel to give satisfaction to you appropriately for the injury done according to the counsel and mandate of the lord pope. Whence giving great thanks to divine goodness which so humiliated your enemies without the dangers of wars, without the shedding of human blood, we ask your mercy, well known to us that, in its time, when the aforesaid Milanese will have sought, through the lord pope as mediator of their reconciliation, your grace, that we find you benign and forgiving so that they do not regret having heeded good counsel and you have the service and honor you should from them. For it is not fitting that your faithful [men] who work for your honor, should be shamed by you. They will be shamed, however, if those to whom they promised the hope of your indulgence when they intervened for them, should find you, God forbid, inexorable.
Ad Imperatricem Romanorum
In reconciliatione Mediolanensium non obliti sumus unde a vestra excellentia praemoniti fueramus. Quod etsi non monuissetis, nihilominus honori vestro et regni utilitatibus intenderemus, sicut ubique et semper fideliter, quantum possumus, facimus. Non ante sane Mediolanenses in gratiam domini Papae et Ecclesiae unitatem recepti sunt, quousque palam Conrado refutato et abnegato dominum nostrum Lotharium in suum dominum et regem receperunt, et Romanorum Imperatorem augustum una cum toto orbe confessi sunt, et de iniuria transacta, iuxta consilium et mandatum domini Papae, digne vobis se satisfacturos esse, tacto sacrosancto Evangelio, spoponderunt. Unde magnas agentes gratias divinae bonitati, quae absque bellorum periculis, absque humani sanguinis effusione, inimicos vestros sic humiliavit, rogamus vestram satis nobis expertam clementiam, ut, tempore suo, cum requisierint praedicti Mediolanenses, per dominum Papam, utique mediatorem suae reconciliationis, gratiam vestram, benignos vos atque placabiles inveniamus, quatenus nec eos paeniteat sanis paruisse consiliis, et vos de eis debitum habeatis servitium et honorem. Non enim decet ut fideles vestri, qui pro honore vestro laborant, apud vos confundantur. Confundentur autem, si quibus de benignitate vestra spem indulgentiae promiserunt, cum pro ipsis intervenerint, invenerint vos, quod absit, inexorabiles.
Bernard wants to arrange a pardon for Milan which had originally supported Lothar’s rival, Conrad, for emperor, after they were pardoned by the pope, Innocent II. But instead of appealing directly to Lothar, he writes to the empress to persuade him. Lothar had unsuccessfully attacked Milan in 1132, with an army too small for the purpose.
Sancti Bernardi Opera, ed. J. LeClercq and H. Rochais (Rome: Eds. Cisterciennes, 1979), 7.333, ep.137