Honorary Professor at the University of Strasbourg Membre de l'Institut
TRANSLATED FROM THE NINTH FRENCH EDITION 1949
Translated by Janet Love
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Note to the Ninth French Edition . . . . . . ix
Select Bibliography . . . . . . x
List of Abbreviations . . . . . . xi
Preface . . . . . . . . xiii
Introduction . . . . . . . . xvii
Book One: The Popes
I. Clement V (1305-14) . . . . . . 3
II. John XXII (1316-34) . . . . . . 9
III. Benedict XII (1334-42) . . . . . . . 2
IV. Clement VI (1342-52) . . . . . . . 37
V. Innocent VI (1352-62) . . . . . . . 44
VI. Urban V (1362-70) . . . . . . . 52
VII. Gregory XI (1370-78) . . . . . . . . . 59
Book Two: Papal Relations with Christendom - I. The Papacy and Italy . . . . . 67
1. Clement V's Intervention in Tuscany . . . . . 68
2. The War with Ferrara, (1308-13) . . . . 70
3. The War in Lombardy and the Legation of Bertrand du Poujet, (1316-34) . . . . . 76
4. Benedict XII and his Policy of Appeasement . . . . . . . . 110
5. Clement VI and Giovanni Visconti . . . . . . . . . . 11
6. Albornoz and the Conquest of the Papal States . . . . . 125
7. Rome and the Papacy: Urban V's Return to Italy . . . . . 146
8. The Final Return of the Holy See to Rome and the War of the Otto Santi . . . . . 160
9. Sicily, the Kingdom of Naples and Hungary up to the Great Schism of the West . . . . . 173
II. The Papacy and the Empire . . . . . . . . . . . . 190
1. Henry VII and the Italian Expedition . . . . . . . . 190
2. Louis of Bavaria and his Conflict with the Papacy . . . . . 205
3. The Schism of Pietro de Corbara . . . . . . . . . . . . 213
4. Louis of Bavaria and John XXII, (1330-34) . . . . . . 219
5. Louis of Bavaria and Benedict XII . . . . . . . . . 221
6. The End of the Struggle between the Church and the Empire . . . . . . 224
III. The Papacy and France . . . . . . . 229
1. The Trial of the Templars . . . . . . 229
2. The Trial of Boniface VIII . . . . . . 246
3. The Papacy and France from John XXII to Gregory XI . . . . . 249
IV. The Papacy and England . . . . . . . 257
1 The Reigns of Edward I and Edward II . . . . . . 257
2. The Reign of Edward III, (1327-77) . . . . . . . 262
V. The Papacy and Spain . . . . . . . . . . 269
1. The Kingdoms of Aragon and Majorca . . . . . 269
2. Castile . . . . . . . . . . . . 274
Book Three: Papal Institutions - I Avignon and the Papal Court . . . . . 279
1. Avignon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 279
2. The Papal Court . . . . . . . . . . . 282
3. The Central Administration of the Roman Church . . . . . 285
A. The Apostolic Camera . . . . . . . . 285
i. The Office of Petitions . . . . . . 289
ii. The Office of Examinations . . . . . 290
iii. The Abbreviators' Office . . . . . 290
iv. The Engrossers' Office . . . . . . . 291
v. The Corrector's Office . . . . . . . 291
vi. The Office of the Bullatores . . . . . . 292
vii. The Registry . . . . . . . . . . . . 293
C. The Administration of Justice . . . . . . 294
i. The Consistory . . . . . . . . . . . . 294
ii. The Cardinals' Tribunals . . . . . . . . . 297
iii The Court of the Apostolic Palace . . . . 299
iv. The Audientia Litterarum Contradictarum . . . . 302
D. The Apostolic Penitentiary . . . . 303
4. The Cardinals . . . . . . . . . . . 305
5 Extravagant Living at the Court of Avignon; Feasts and Expenditure . . . . . 310
II. Papal Finances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319
1. Taxes paid directly to the Curia . . . . . . . . 319
2. Taxes levied in the Taxpayer's own Country by the Agents of the Curia . . . . . 321
3. The Methods of collecting Taxes . . . . . . . . . 326
4. The Effects and Results of the Financial Policy of the Avignon Popes . . . . . 329
III. The Centralisation of the Church during the Avignon Papacy . . . . . . 335
Conclusion . . . . . . . . 343
Index . . . . . . . . . . . 345
Note to the Ninth French Edition
THE ninth edition of 'The Popes at Avignon' differs considerably from earlier editions and is almost a new book. The preface and several passages of the original text have been rewritten, revised or expanded. Chapter I of Book Two has been almost entirely recast and much expanded. Greater light is thus thrown on the Holy See's policy in Italy. Chapters II and IV in the same Book, dealing respectively with the Church's relations with the Empire and with England, have undergone considerable change and development.
PARIS, 19 March 1949
THE period of the Avignon Papacy has been the subject of a large number of important studies of varying scope and size and also of many articles and reviews. A complete bibliography will be found in the French edition, Les Papes d'Avignon, Paris 1949. The following are among the more important of those of a relatively early date. E. Dérez, Les préliminaires de la guerre de Cent Ana. La papauté, la France et l'Angleterre, Paris 1902
N. Valois, 'Jacques Duèse, Pape sous le nom de Jean XXII,' in Histoire littéraire de la France, VOL. XXXIV, 1915, pp. 391-630
G. Lizerand, Clément V et Philippe IV le Bel, Paris 1910
R. Caggese, Roberto d' Angiò e i suoi tempi, Florence 1922
E. B. Graves, "'The Legal Significance of the Statutes of Praemunire of 1353,'" in Hastings Anniversary Essays, Cambridge, Mass., 1929
E. Léonard, Histoire de Jeanne Ire, reine de Naples, comtesse de Provence ( 1343-1382), Paris 1932-7, 3 vols.
F. Filippini, Il cardinale Egidio Albornoz, Bologna 1933
E. Perroy, L' Angleterre et le Grand Schisme d'Occident, Paris 1933 (the first chapter deals with Gregory XI)
List of Abbreviations
Annuaire-Bulletin Annuaire-Bulletin de la Société de l' histoire de France
Archiv Archiv für Literatur und Kirchengeschichte
A.S.P.N. Archivio storico per le provincie napoletane
A.S.R.S.P. Archivio della Società Romana di storia patria
B.E.C. Bibliothèque de l' École des Chartes
Bulletin historique Bulletin Historique et philologique du comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques
Coulon Lettres secrètes et curiales du pape Jean XXII relatives à la France
Daumet Benoît XII. Lettres closes, patentes et curiales se, rapportant à la France
Déprez, Clément VI Clément VI. Lettres closes, patentes et curiales se rapportant à la France
Déprez, Innocent VI Innocent VI. Lettres closes, patentes et curiales se rapportant à la France
Lecacheux Urbain V. Lettres secrètes et curiales se rapportant à la France
Mélanges Mélanges d' archéologie et d' histoire de l' École française de Rome
Mittheilungen Mittheilungen des Instituts für österreichische Geschichtsforschung
Mollat Jean XXII. Lettres communes
Muratori Rerum Italicarum scriptores
Not. et extr. des mss. Notices et extraits des manuscrits
Pastor Geschichte der Päpste
Quellen Quellen uncl Forschungen aus italienischen Archiven und Bibliotheken
R.H.E. Revue d' histoire ecclésiastique
Rinaldi Annales ecclesiastici
Römische Quartalschrift Römische Quartalschrift für christliche Altertumskunde und Kirchengeschichte R.Q.H. Revue des questions historiques
Soc. hist. Fr. Société de l'histoire de France
Vidal Benoît XII. Lettres communes
V.S.W.G. Vierteljahrschrift für Social- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte
Z.S.S.R.G.Kan. Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte. Kanonistische Abteilung
BETWEEN 1305 and 1378 seven Popes succeeded one another on the throne of St Peter and lived, more or less continuously, in Avignon, on the banks of the Rhône.
Was it an unheard-of occurrence and in fact a 'scandal' in the annals of the Church for them to reside outside Rome? The majority of non-French writers, from Platina onwards, seem to suggest it. Yet, for all they were bishops of Rome, a large number of the Popes were elected and crowned elsewhere than at Rome and governed the world from some place other than Rome. During the latter half of the thirteenth century their subjects' unrest made it impossible for the Popes to reside in the Eternal City and they were obliged to emigrate, to such an extent that it became exceptional for them to live in Rome.
Nothing is more enlightening in this respect than the itinerary followed by the Popes throughout the half-century preceding their installation at Avignon. After a stay of five months and a few days in Rome, where he suffered the greatest restriction of his liberty and had his authority impeded by the noble families, Benedict XI ( 1303-04) left for Perugia where he died. According to Ferreto Ferreti of Vicenza, he was thinking of making an indefinite stay in Lombardy. 1 His predecessor, Boniface VIII ( 1294-1303), was much less frequently to be found at the Lateran palace than at Anagni, Orvieto or Velletri. Celestine V ( 1294), the holy hermit, never saw Rome; elected at Perugia and crowned 'at Aquila, he proceeded to Sulmona, Capua and Naples, where he renounced his title. Nicholas IV ( 1288-92) was elected at Rome and sometimes resided at Santa Maria Maggiore; but he lived as a rule at Rieti and Orvieto. Honorius IV ( 1285-7), after his election at Perugia, liked to live at Santa Sabina; only in the extreme heat of summer did he retreat to Tivoli or Palombara. Martin IV ( 1281-5), a Frenchman, elected at Viterbo, ubi tunc residebat Romana Curia, never went outside Tuscany and Umbria. Also elected at Viterbo, Nicholas III ( 1277-80) was unusual in being crowned at Rome; he divided his time between that city, Sutri, Vetralla and Viterbo. John XXI ( 1276-7) never left Viterbo, where he had been elected and where he died and was buried beneath the walls of his own palace. Innocent V and Adrian V occupied the pontifical throne
1 Muratori, VOL. IX, col. 1012.
for brief periods only, during the first six months of the year 1276. After two months' stay in Rome, Gregory X ( 1271-6) went to Orvieto and then to France, where he summoned the fourteenth œcumenical council at Lyons. His return journey to Italy was made in short stages, with many halts in 'the sweet land of Provence.' He went to Orange, Beaucaire and Valence and back to Vienne, in order to return to Italy by way of Switzerland and he died at Arezzo. The French Pope Clement IV ( 1265-8) did not issue a single document from Rome. He went to Perugia, Assisi, Orvieto, Montefiascone and Viterbo. Urban IV ( 1261-4), another Frenchman, had only three residences, Viterbo, Montefiascone and Orvieto; he died in his litter on the way from Orvieto to Perugia. Alexander IV ( 1254-61) was elected and crowned at Naples, and had a liking for Anagni and Viterbo; at the beginning and end of his pontificate, he spent a few months at the Lateran Palace, and died at Viterbo. Innocent IV ( 1243-54), who was elected and consecrated at Anagni, spent only a very short time at Rome; he was obliged to flee from Frederick II and to take refuge at Lyons from 1244 until 1251. When he returned to Italy, he settled in the peaceful country of Umbria and then went to Naples, where he died. 1
To go still further back in history would be just as easy. Gregory IX ( 1227-41), who reigned for about fourteen years, spent more than eight of them away from Rome. It was in all probability the fickleness of the Romans that led Innocent III in 1209 to lay the foundations of an ecclesiastical state beyond the Alps. By virtue of a convention drawn up with Count Raymond VI of Toulouse, the Holy See received, as a pledge of his conversion, seven castles in Provence which were later handed over to Raymond VII in exchange for the Comtat-Venaissin. Between August 1099 and January 1198, the Roman pontiffs spent fifty-five years and a few months away from Rome and of these eight and a half years were spent in France. In short, it has been calculated that 'In the two hundred and four years from 1100 until 1304, the Popes spent one hundred and twenty-two away from Rome and eighty-two in Rome: that is, forty years more away from Rome than in it.' 2
The establishment of the Papacy outside Rome in the fourteenth century, then, does not constitute an unheard-of revolution in history; it was brought about and prepared by a long series of circumstances and events. The really extraordinary and unprecedented
1 Potthast, Regesta pontificum Romanorum, Berlin 1874-5, passim. See also registers of the Popes of the thirteenth century published by the French School at Rome.
2 L. Gayet, Le Grand Schisme d' Occident, Florence 1889, p. 3.
circumstance is the prolonged residence of the Popes outside Italy. Moreover the Italians, once they were deprived of the considerable advantages provided by the presence of the Papacy, did not fail to follow Petrarch 1 and St Catherine of Siena 2 in copious expressions of blame and complaint. Ughelli -- to quote only one of the best known --goes so far as to assert that the transference of the Holy See to Avignon was a greater disaster for his country than the barbarian invasions. 3 German scholarship has echoed these sentiments. Gregorovius declares that the Avignon Popes were the 'slaves' of the kings of France; 4 Hase refers to them as 'bishops of the French court'; 5 Martens maintains that they would not have dared to exercise any sovereign authority without the approval of the French kings. 6 Pastor yields to the general opinion: he reproaches the Papacy with having caused the Church to lose its universality by becoming French and thus arousing popular suspicion and feelings of hostility; he alleges that this move precipitated the decline of religious feeling. 7 Other writers, both in France and elsewhere, have bitterly denounced the excessive concern of the court at Avignon with finance, the looseness of its morals, its extravagant tastes, its nepotism and absolutism. 8 In a word, according to the majority of historians, the Avignon Papacy was the source of the greatest evils for the Church and, in the last analysis, the chief cause of the great schism of the West. Whatever may have been claimed in its defence, 9 the judgment of history remains unfavourable towards it. Is this judgment confirmed or
1 See especially Epistolae sine titulo, V, VIII, X, XII-XV, XVII-XIX; Books VII and IX of Rerum senilium ; the Sonnets La falsa Babilonia and Fontana di dolor' ; and the attacks on Avignon in his works, Basle edition, pp. 852, 1081. See also P. Piur, Petrarcas Buch ohne Namen und die päpstliclze Kurie, Halle 1925. (Critical edition of Epistolae sine titulo preceded by a long introduction in which the author adopts Petrarch's pessimistic view of the court at Avignon.)
2 Lettere ridotte a migliore lezione e in ordine nuovo disposte, ed. Tommaseo, Florence 1860.
3 Italia sacra, VOL. I, Venice 1717, p. 71.
4 Storia della Gittà di Roma, VOL. III, Rome 1901 pp. 203- 04.
5 Kirchengeschichte, 10th edn. 1877, p. 293.
6 Die Beziehungen der Überordnung, Nebenordnung und Unterordnung zwischen Kirche und Staat, Stuttgart 1877, p. 130.
7 Pastor, VOL. I, pp. 74 f.
8 Fr. Tridichum, Papsttum und Reformation im Mittelater (1143-1517), Leipzig 1903; F. Rocquain, La Cour de home et l' esprit de réforme avant Luther, VOL. II, Paris 1895; J. Michelet, Histoire de France, VOL. VII, Paris 1876, pp. 349-50; J. Haller, Papsttum und Kirchenreform. Vier Kapitel zur Geschichte des ausgehenden Mittelalters, Berlin 1903; J.-F. André, Histoire de la papauté d'Avignon, Paris 1887.
9 C. Hœfler, 'Die avignonesischen Päpste, ihre Machtfülle, und ihr Untergang,' Almanach der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 21st year, Vienna 1871, pp. 231-85; Baluze, in the Preface of his Vitae; G.-Fr. Berthier, Histoire de l' Eglise gallicane, VOLS. XII-XIV, Paris 1745; Discours sur le pontificat de Clément V, VOL. XIII, pp. i-xxiv; J.-B. Christophe, Histoire de la Papauté pendant le XIVe Siècle, Paris 1853, especially the preface to VOL. III; P. Fournier, Bulletin Critique, 2nd Series, VOL. VII, 1901, pp. 162-7; VOL. VIII, 1902, pp. 84-9; P. Richard, 'La Captivité de Babylone à Avignon (1316-78), ' L' Université Catholique, VOL. LXVI, 1911, pp. 81-101.
invalidated by the publication of the Papal Registers and the studies that have appeared since the opening of the Vatican Archives? A statement of the facts will make a reply possible. we shall endeavour, in the following pages, to study in detail and with reference to the texts of the Archives, the pontificates of Clement V, John XXII, Benedict XII, Clement VI, Innocent VI, Urban V and Gregory XI. These have usually been the victims of prejudice caused by a chauvinism which is not, on this occasion, French. We are not writing a defence, but an historical account, sketching biographies, clarifying policy and describing institutions without any preconceived notion save that of stating what the texts imply.
The Establishment of the Holy See at Avignon
THE chronicler Ptolemy of Lucca reports that as soon as Bertrand de Got was elected Pope, 'he determined to fix his residence in the Comtat-Venaissin and never to cross the Alps.' 1 This is a misstatement. It is true that the cardinals' letters, giving notice of the election, were expressed in such a way as to deter Clement V from going to Italy. They depicted that country as given over to anarchy and the Papal States as devastated by war. 2 Nevertheless, the Pope announced his intention of going to Italy as soon as peace was made between the kings of England and France, and the crusade organised. He chose the place for his coronation on imperial soil, at Vienne in Dauphiné, a town on the main road to Italy. 3 He invited only a limited number of cardinals to his coronation: two bishops, two priests and two deacons. 4 Although Clement V subsequently changed his plans, he still had every intention of leaving France, where circumstances had detained him. In 1306 the ambassador of Aragon wrote to James II: 'The Pope signified [to the cardinals] that it was his intention to stay here until the coming month of March. For then he will give leave to the court to cross the Alps and will meet with the king of France at Poitiers, that he may persuade him to receive the cross and ratify the peace between himself and the king of England. And from that time forward, without tarrying in any other place, my said lord the Pope will go to Italy.' 5 According to the same ambassador, during the meeting at Poitiers in 1308, the Supreme Pontiff expressed his joy at encountering Philip the Fair, for it was his intention to go to Rome but to entertain the king before his departure. 6 On 11 April 1308, Clement was considering the restoration of the ciborium to the high altar of St John Lateran and said: 'By the grace of God we propose
1 Baluze-Mollat, Vitae paparum Avenionensium, VOL. I, Paris 1916, p. 24.
2 Mansi, Conciliorum nova et amplissima eollectio, VOL. XXV, col. 127.
3 C. Wenck, Clemens V und Heinrich VII, Halle 1882, p. 169.
4 H. Finke, Acta Aragonensia, Münster 1908, pp. 199, 403.
5 H. Finke, Papsttum und Untergang des Templerordens, VOL. II, Münster 1907, pp. 21-2.
6 Ibid. p. 34.
to put back with our own hands the most famous wooden altar in the place where it formerly was.' 1 Moreover, in the next year he was promising that within the space of two years he would himself crown the Emperor Henry VII at Rome. 2 Why did Clement V not carry out these intentions that he had so often expressed?
The Pope's object in choosing to hold his coronation at Vienne and not on Italian soil was to attract the kings of France and England to the ceremony and to take advantage of their presence to work for the conclusion of a lasting peace between them. In this he was carrying out a cherished plan of the late Boniface VIII, who had dreamt of going to France to settle the Anglo-French differences. 3 Like his predecessor, Clement V considered that the crusade would be impossible without the effective co-operation of France and England. Such co-operation could not properly be sought until the day when the two countries had signed the peace. Clement V worked untiringly to reconcile them. He arranged the marriage of Isabella of France with the future Edward II. Despite his efforts, final reconciliation was not achieved until 1312. 4
On 28 November 1306, however, Clement V declared that peace negotiations, which by that date were well advanced, could have been completed by the intervention of nuncios alone. 5 But other causes hindered his departure for Rome. Chief among these was the pressure exercised by the French court. As early as July and August 1305, French ambassadors sought Clement V and reminded him that the action brought against the deceased Boniface VIII was not yet finished. The Pope, anxious to avoid a renewal of this action, made a concession that was to have considerable consequences: he decreed that his coronation should now take place not at Vienne but at Lyons. On 14 November 1305 this ceremony was performed in that city in the presence of Philip the Fair. It was followed by very important negotiations. The king of France was insistent that the trial of Boniface VIII should be renewed. It was agreed that this should be discussed at a future meeting; with the result that Clement V was obliged to put off until a more favourable time his departure for Italy.
The Pope made his way from Lyons to Mâcon and Cluny and then reached Languedoc by way of Nevers, Bourges, Limoges and Périgueux. An illness which almost proved fatal helped to keep him for nearly a year in the Bordeaux area ( May 1306-March 1307) and
1 Regestum Clementis Papae V, no. 3592.
2 Ibid. no. 4302.
3 C. Wenck, op. ct. p. 41.
4 G. Lizerand, Clément V et Philippe IV le Bel, Paris 1910, pp. 61-4, 69.
5 C. Wenck, op. cit. p. 43.
prevented the proposed meeting with Philip the Fair from taking place at Michaelmas 1306. After a partial recovery, Clement V once more set out on his journeyings and reached Poitiers in April 1307. Here he could come to no understanding with the king of France, who refused to agree to all the proposed compromises to end the lawsuit against Boniface VIII, which was still hanging fire. They parted without coming to any decision. On 13 October 1307 a sensational event took place: the mass arrest of the Templars. A further interview with Philip the Fair became necessary. This, too, took place at Poitiers ( May-July 1308). The king's demands on this occasion were such that Clement V resolved not to proceed with his enterprise. He could not contemplate going to Rome. It would have been madness to leave Philip the Fair master of the situation on the eve of the opening of the Council of Vienne, where decisions would be taken gravely affecting the interests of the Church, and where in particular the scandalous trial of the Templars would be debated. In complete agreement with the cardinals, Clement V decided to transfer the court to Avignon ( August 1308). 1
This city possessed valuable assets. Rapid and frequent communication with Italy was ensured by both land and water routes. It was near France but not dependent upon her. There was nothing to fear from the suzerains of Avignon, the Angevin princes of Naples; their energies were largely absorbed in defending the integrity of their kingdom of the Two Sicilies against the encroachments of the ambitious house of Aragon, and in the promotion of Guelph interests in the rest of the peninsula; moreover, were they not vassals of the Church? Lastly, the city of Avignon formed an enclave in the Comtat-Venaissin, a possession of the Holy See. No town could provide the Papacy with a more peaceful refuge and more powerful guarantees of independence and security.
Once he had taken this decision, Clement V made his way by short stages across the south of France. In March 1309 he entered Avignon and so inaugurated the Papacy's long exile which was to last for more than seventy years and which, through ill-justified comparison with the sojourn of the Chosen People in a strange land, has come to be known as 'the Babylonian captivity.'
The Pope's establishment at Avignon still remained provisional in character. Clement V lived unpretentiously in the convent of the Dominicans. 2 He caused only the registers of letters of his two
1 H. Finke, Papsttum und Untergang des Templerordens, VOL. II, p. 156.
2 M. Faucon, " 'Les Arts à la cour d'Avignon sous Clément V et Jean XXII,' " Mélanges, VOL. II, 1882, p. 39.
predecessors to be brought from Italy, and left the greater part of the pontifical treasure at the church of St Francis of Assisi. 1 He stayed for only a very short time in Avignon itself, preferring the towns and castles of the Comtat-Venaissin.
The lawsuit brought against Boniface VIII caused the Supreme Pontiff the gravest anxiety between 1309 and 1311. Clement V was skilful enough to succeed in delaying the proceedings as much as possible and ultimately in silencing the worst accusers of the dead Pope. As for the trial of the Templars, this was settled at the Council of Vienne ( 16 October 1311-6 May 1312). At the very moment when Clement might have gone to Italy, his health, never very robust, took a turn for the worse. According to the chronicler Ptolemy of Lucca, who had his information from the lips of the Pope's confessor, it declined rapidly after the promulgation, at the Council of Vienne, of the Constitution Exivi de Paradiso. 2 The Pope, feeling that his end was near, dictated his will on 9 June 1312. 3 His sickness grew worse in the course of the years 1313 and 1314 and finally overcame him on 20 April 1314.
Even if Clement V had enjoyed better health, he could not have crossed the Alps in 1312 or 1313. Henry VII's entry into Italy had set the whole country in revolt. From 7 May 1312, Rome served only as a battlefield where Guelphs and Ghibellines attacked each other brutally. Henry VII lost no time in treating the Papacy as an enemy and in defying the threat of excommunication against anyone attacking the king of Naples. In such circumstances who can blame Clement V for staying in the Comtat-Venaissin? Where else could he have found so safe a refuge?
Under the successors of Clement V, Rome and Italy, despite their peoples' protestations and repeated appeals, remained inhospitable to the Papacy. 'Ah! Italy, abode of sorrow,' wrote Dante, 'vessel without a helmsman amidst a dreadful storm, no longer art thou mistress of thy peoples, but a place of prostitution. Now, those who live in thy dominions wage implacable war amongst themselves; those protected by the same wall and the same ramparts rend each other. Search, unhappy country, around thy shores and see if in thy bosom a single one of thy provinces enjoys peace.' Italy was indeed incessantly laid waste by war in the reign of John XXII. In 1332 the
1 Regestum Clementis papae V, Introduction, p. xxxi. F. Ehrle, Historia bibliothecae pontificum Romanorum, Rome 1890, pp. 11-12; " 'Nachträge zur Geschichte der drei ältesten päpstlichen Biblioteken,' " Kirchengeschichtliche Festgaben Anton de Waal, Freiburg-im-Breisgau 1913, pp. 337-69.
2 Baluze-Mollat, op. cit. VOL. I, pp. 52-3.
3 F. Ehrle, " 'Der Nachlass Clemens V,' " etc. Archiv, , VOL. V, 1889, p. 26.
Pope contemplated crossing the Alps, after Bertrand du Poujet's victories over the Ghibellines. He conceived the plan of pacifying Lombardy and Tuscany, and then proceeding to Rome. Bologna, which had yielded to the Church, was provisionally chosen as a place of residence. Preparations for the Pope's reception were made: a citadel was built at the Galliera gate; an order even reached Rome itself for the pontifical dwellings to be restored and the gardens cultivated afresh. 1 The rebellion of Bologna and the completion of arrangements for the crusade put a speedy end to the Pope's plans. 2 In 1333 the king of France was appointed captain-general of the Christian army. That year and the next negotiations were more active than ever between the courts of Paris and Avignon. The departure of the Holy See for Italy would have displeased Philip VI -- who had been much angered by the intentions of John XXII-and would have hindered the preparations for the expedition which seemed definitely arranged; undoubtedly it would have gravely compromised the ultimate success of the Crusade. 3
At the beginning of his pontificate, Benedict XII listened to the grievances of the ambassadors sent him by the Romans. In a Consistory held in July 1335, he decided, with the unanimous consent of his cardinals, that the court would leave Avignon about the first of the following October and transfer provisionally to Bologna. 4 The cardinals changed their minds in a second Consistory. They considered it best to postpone the departure for Italy, for, in addition to the many difficulties of the journey itself, they thought that a move on the part of the Holy See would interfere with the plans for the crusade and the settling of urgent business. 5 Moreover, an investigation made on the spot gave ample evidence that sedition at Bologna was still causing too much unrest to justify the transfer of the Holy See within its walls. 6 The cardinals' foresight was justified. Bologna speedily revolted once more against the Church; elsewhere, in Romagna and in the Marches, the nobles were planning to become independent; while at Rome revolution reigned from 1347 until 1354.
Under Clement VI war became inevitable. It was to devastate Italy until the day when the fierce sword of Albornoz conquered the
1 L. Ciaccio, II cardinale legato Bertrando del Poggetto, Bologna 1906, pp. 144-52.
2 Not. et extr. des mss. , VOL. XXXV, pt. 2, pp. 417-19; Regesta Vaticana, VOL. CXVI, f. 217 r, col. 1096-8; VOL. CXVII, f. 108 r, col. 534.
3 N. Valois, "' Jacques Duèse, pape sous le nom de Jean XXII,'" Histoire littéraire de la France, VOL. XXXIV, 1915, pp. 485-7, 498-511.
4 J. M. Vidal, Lettres closes et patentes de Benoît XII, VOL. I, Paris 1919, no. 476.
5 Daumet, nos. 112, 139, 141.
6 A. Theiner, Codex diplomaticus dominii temporalis Sanctae Sedis, VOL. I, Rome 1861, doc. DCCLXVII and DCCLXIX.
various tyrants, great and small, who were disturbing the peace. Urban V thought this a favourable moment to re-establish the Papacy in Rome. As is well known, the hostility of his own subjects forced him to return to Avignon. 1 The Pope's fears were not illusory. Under Gregory XI the Roman factions were once more aroused. They plotted to massacre the foreigners who made up the Papal court and the non-Italian cardinals, so as to compel the Pope to settle forever in the Eternal City. 2 What is worse, a Roman cardinal, in order to seize the triple crown for himself, 3 is alleged to have had the dire thought of making an attempt on the life of Gregory XI. According to other contemporaries, if Gregory XI had left Italy again, as he had shown that he intended to do, the Romans would have created an antiPope in opposition to him. 4 In any event, the precautions taken by the Supreme Pontiff on 19 March 1378 show clearly how much he feared serious trouble after his death. 5
To sum up, the fact that for many years the Popes did not live in Italy is explained by that country's persistent hostility. The Popes of the fourteenth century were bound to have fresh in their minds the memory of the attempt on the life of Boniface VIII perpetrated at Anagni; this attack had only been made possible by the connivance of the Romans.
The continued residence of the Popes on the banks of the Rhône is thus adequately explained and even justified by the need to put an end to the suit brought against Boniface VIII and to wind up the trial of the Templars, by the imminence of the crusade, by the attempts at conciliation between France and England, and above all by the unsettled state of Italy. To these primary causes must be added some secondary ones: the preponderance of French cardinals in the Sacred College and their marked distaste for Italian soil; the construction by Benedict XII of the Palace of the Popes, at once an admirable work of art and a fortress which for long guaranteed the most complete security; the purchase of Avignon from Joanna I, queen of Naples, in 1348; Clement VI's devotion to his country; the age and infirmity of Innocent VI; 6 the manœuvres and intrigues of the kings of France, who wished to keep the papal court within their sphere of influence; and the Popes' anxiety to preserve friendly relations with the only genuine allies on whom they could count in the bitter conflict with Louis of Bavaria.
1 See below, pp. 57-8.
2 Gayet, Le Grand Schisme d'Occident, VOL. I, Paris 1889, p. 120 (documentary evidence).
3 Ibid. VOL. II, p. 162.
4 Ibid. VOL. I, pp. 119, 157.
5 N. Valois, La France et le Grand Schisme d'Occident, VOL. I, Paris 1896, pp. 8-9.
6 Martène and Durand, Thesaurus novus anecdotorum, VOL. II, Paris 1717, cols. 946-7.
BOOK ONE: THE POPES
Clement V (1305-14)
AT the beginning of the conclave at Perugia on 18 July 1304, the Sacred College was seriously divided. The larger party, almost entirely composed of Italians, demanded atonement for the outrage committed on the person of Boniface VIII by Nogaret at Anagni, and was out to thwart French policy; it was led by Matteo Rosso Orsini, and had as many as ten members. The French faction, under the leadership of the young Napoleone Orsini, sought the re-instatement of the two Cardinals Colonna, whom Boniface VIII had deprived of their honours, and the renewal, at any price, of the agreement with Philip the Fair; it could count on six votes.
The antagonism of the two opposing parties was too well defined for the election to be speedily concluded. If a Pope were chosen from among the cardinals, it must eventually follow that Boniface VIII's conduct towards France was to be either approved or condemned. Moreover, Guillaume de Nogaret was venting his ill-will upon the followers of Boniface in truculent proclamations and memoranda. What could be more threatening than language such as this?--'If some Antichrist invade the Holy See, we must resist him; there is no offence to the Church in such resistance; if order cannot be restored without force, we must not waive our right; if, in the cause of right, violence is committed, we are not responsible.' 1
The cardinals, aware of the danger of the situation, looked beyond the confines of the Sacred College. Some supporters of Boniface put forward the name of the archbishop of Bordeaux, Bertrand de Got; but the rest of their adherents, together with Napoleone Orsini, rejected it.
Napoleone Orsini soon regretted his refusal and, before attempting any action, investigated the intentions of the archbishop of Bordeaux and those of Philip the Fair.
Bertrand de Got was an influential figure at the king's court, with which he had maintained a friendly relationship for many years. His family was in favour with the prince, who in 1305 gave eloquent
1 Lizerand, Clément V et Philippe le Bel, Paris 1910, p. 17.
expression to his feelings for him: 'Considering the good conduct, the great loyalty and the firm constancy that we have found in ArnaudGarsias de Got and in Bertrand, son of the aforesaid knight, and in those of their lineage. . . .' 1 The archbishop's journey to Rome, in the thick of the armed conflict between Boniface and Philip the Fair, had not caused an estrangement with his sovereign. Shrewd statesman that he was, Bertrand de Got had thrown in his lot with the French bishops against the Pope, and took advantage of attending the synod at Rome to work for the ending of hostilities. The king took so lenient a view of his journey that in April 1304 he took up Bertrand's defence against the officers of his kingdom. Orsini's overtures were well received. Philip who knew the true character of Bertrand de Got, had the most sanguine hopes of his elevation to the Papacy.
Armed with this information, Napoleone Orsini gave vigorous support to the candidature of Bertrand de Got, which was also upheld by a French embassy which had come to Perugia early in 1305. He cleverly flattered Matteo Rosso Orsini in public and made a show of being reconciled with him, while secret emissaries were busy persuading certain of the supporters of Boniface of the defection and treachery of their leader. Napoleone Orsini himself brought Cardinal Pierre d'Espagne completely to his way of thinking; he in his turn brought with him two cardinals from his faction, Leonardo Patrassi and Francesco Caetani. This was enough to shift the majority and to unite ten votes in favour of Bertrand de Got. The minority, reduced to five votes, had no alternative but to declare that they acceded to the election ( 5 June 1305). 2
Giovanni Villani has given a quite different account of the election at Perugia, which, despite the extraordinary reputation it has enjoyed, is entirely fanciful. According to Villani, 3 Cardinal Niccolò de Prato, one of the French party, persuaded the Boniface faction to agree to a compromise; Boniface's supporters nominated three candidates, and from these their opponents chose Bertrand de Got. Philip the Fair, warned by Nicolas de Prato, wished to make sure of Bertrand's intentions. A meeting took place in an abbey hidden deep in the woods near St Jean d'Angély. The archbishop of Bordeaux was assured of the papal crown provided that he made six promises: to reconcile the king unconditionally with the Church; to release him and his followers from the excommunication incurred at the time of his quarrels with Boniface VIII; to assign to him five tenths on all the benefices of the kingdom; to condemn the memory of Boniface; to rehabilitate the
1 Lizerand, Clément V et Philippe le Bel, Paris 1910, p. 33.
2 Ibid. pp. 12-42.
3 Istorie fiorentine, Bk VIII, ch. lxxx.
Colonna and to create cardinals friendly to France. The sixth condition was to be revealed when the time was ripe. Bertrand de Got, having promised all these things, was elected without difficulty.
Villani's account is not only inaccurate in certain points of detail but is also contradicted by the facts. Our knowledge of the journeys made by Philip the Fair and Bertrand de Got 1 proves that at the time when the interview at St. Jean d'Angély is alleged to have taken place, one was not far from Paris and the other at La Roche sur Yon. If, on the other hand, a pact had really been made between the two, it would be difficult to explain the laborious negotiations that later led to the resumption of the trial of Boniface VIII and the condemnation of the Templars.
Bertrand de Got 2 received the news of his election at Lusignan on 19 June while he was visiting his province. At once he retraced his steps and returned to Bordeaux. There he received the decree announcing his election, signified his acceptance and took the name of Clement. He arranged to be crowned at Vienne (Dauphiné) at the coming Feast of All Saints, and then announced his intention of going to Italy as soon as a final peace was concluded between France and England. 3
A French embassy, however, raised objections to his plans; and the Pope, to satisfy Philip the Fair, chose Lyons as the place for his coronation. He left Bordeaux on 4 September. By 1 November he had reached Lyons, having made halts on the way at Agen, at the monastery of Prouille, and at Béziers, Lézignan, Villalier, Montpenier and Viviers. On 14 November, Napoleone Orsini, who had become dean of the Sacred College on the death of his uncle Matteo, crowned Clement in the church of St Just, on French soil, in the presence of the cardinals, who had hastened there from Perugia, and of Philip the Fair and of a large number of prelates and high-born princes. A most unfortunate accident suddenly interrupted the progress of the magnificent procession as it made its way through the streets of Lyons; just as the papal procession was passing, part of a wall, overloaded
1 Rabanis, Clément V et Philippe le Bel, Paris 1858, pp. 53-66. J.
Boucherie, in Archives historiques de la Gironde, XXIII, 1883, p. 340; Histoire littéraire de la France, VOL. XXI, pp. 444-5.
2 Bertrand was born at Villandraut (Gironde), the son of Béraud de Got, lord of Villandraut, Grayan, Livran and Uzeste; the date of his birth is unknown. He was educated in the convent of the Deffendi of the Order of Grandmont, in the diocese of Agen, and studied canon and civil law at Orleans and Bologna. He was successively canon of Bordeaux, of St Caprais at Agen, of Tours and of Lyons, and then vicargeneral to his brother Béraud, the archbishop of Lyons. In 1294 he was entrusted with a diplomatic mission to England. On 28 March 1295 he was made bishop of Comminges and on 23 December 1299, archbishop of Bordeaux. Cf. Baluze, Vitae, vol. II, pp. 31175; Lizerand, Clément V et Philippe le Bel, pp. 23 f.
3 C. Wenck, Clemens V und Heinrich VII, Halle 1882, pp. 169-70.
with spectators, collapsed and twelve people, including John, duke of Brittany, were killed.
The meeting between Philip the Fair and Clement V at Lyons was disastrous for the Church. Two weighty decisions emerged from the negotiations that followed: firstly, instead of making his way to Italy, the Pope set off for Gascony; then on 15 December, he created nine French and one English cardinal, and reinstated Giacomo and Pietro Colonna in the Sacred College. Thus was accomplished in the senate of the Roman Church 'one of the most abrupt revolutions recorded in ecclesiastical history.' 1 The Italian element was reduced to a definite minority: it was to be even further reduced by the promotions of December 1310 and December 1312.
From the beginning of his reign, Clement V revealed characteristics that were to be evident throughout: a weak, impressionable personality, a vacillating diplomatist and a man of compromise, he was a completely unworthy opponent of Philip the Fair, who possessed an inflexible will and was accustomed to bring into play all the resources of a coldly calculating temperament. The Pope was to use every stratagem and prevarication, only to have concessions wrested from him in the end. It was because of this that the scandalous trial of Boniface VIII came to be resumed, the outrage at Anagni pardoned and the Templars suppressed.
It is only fair to state, in Clement's defence, that he was a sick man during the whole of his pontificate. He suffered cruelly from a disease that is thought to have been cancer of the bowel or stomach. Under the effects of this disease, he became taciturn and lived as a recluse for months at a time, thus giving rise to the libellous rumours whose echoes came down to Villani and Albertino mussato. 2 During the attack which lasted from August until the end of December 1306, he allowed no-one near him except four of his kinsmen, to the great displeasure of the cardinals, who did not succeed in approaching him until Epiphany 1307. From 1309, the attacks occurred at increasingly shorter intervals. In 1313 and 1314, the disease grew worse. Clement hoped to gain some relief from a change of air and planned to go back to his native country. Worn out by suffering, he died on 20 April 1314 at Roquemaure (Gard).
Except when he was contending with the king of France, Clement never lacked either energy or determination. He was the inevitable
1 E. Renan, Études sur la politique religieuse de Philippe le Bel, Paris 1889, p. 100.
2 Istorie fiorentine, Bk IX, ch. lviii. De Gestis Henrici VII, Bk III, tit. x, col. 606. The rumours reported by Villani, according to which the Pope was alleged to have had improper relations with the countess of Périgord, daughter of the count of Foix, are without foundation. Cf. Lizerand, op. cit. pp. 375-6.
choice as arbitrator of differences in Europe. He reconciled rulers with each other or with their nobility and their people. In England, he freed Edward II from the vows he had made to his barons. In Hungary, his intervention in the question of the succession to the throne, in favour of Carobert, brought to an end a revolution that had lasted for fifteen years. He settled the question of the imperial crown. He was proud and imperious in his dealings with the Emperor Henry VII. At Poitiers, on 5 June 1307, he announced the excommunication of the emperor of Byzantium, Andronicus II Palaeologus. He upheld his right of suzerainty everywhere. He brought back Ferrara under his obedience and was harsh in his treatment of Venice which had tried to deprive him of Ferrara. Robert of Naples was happy to declare himself the Pope's devoted son and to accept from him 1 the vicariate of Italy.
Under Clement, increasing emphasis was laid on the centralisation of the internal government of the Church. The choice of bishops was taken more and more out of the hands of cathedral chapters, who were compelled to respect the reservations of the Holy See. The list of benefices conferred directly by the Pope grew so long that it caused disquiet to the ordinary collators.
Clement V was himself a man of letters and as such encouraged learning. He created universities at Orleans and Perugia. At Montpellier he codified the statutes of the Faculty of Medicine, while at Paris, Bologna, Oxford and Salamanca he ordered the founding of chairs of Hebrew, Syrian and Arabic.
This sick pontiff set great store on doctors. Peter von Aichspalt, who attended him, was raised to the archiepiscopal throne at Mainz. Arnold of Villanova found in him an effective protector.
But it is above all as a jurist that Clement V is known to posterity. He added a seventh book to the Decretals, bearing the name of Clementinae, and thus completed the compilation of the great code of ecclesiastical law, the Corpus juris canonici, to which certain Constitutions of his successors were later to be added, under the name of Extravagantes.
The works of art undertaken at his direction, though not numerous, are none the less remarkable: the collegiate church at Uzeste, and the impressive vaulting at St Bertrand de Comminges; the splendid cope given to that cathedral on the occasion of the translation of the relics of St Bertrand where seventeen historical scenes are represented, framed in medallions on a background embroidered with gold thread and covered with foliage and figures.
1 Renan, op. cit. pp. 450-1.
Clement had a pleasing manner. He was affable by nature, and tried to win men's hearts by skilful compliments, and was lavish in his praises, especially to monarchs.
Unfortunately this affability degenerated into an easy-going goodnature. He had the all too human weakness of granting excessive favours to his kinsmen. July 1305 saw the beginning of a generous distribution of benefices to his nephews, friends and relatives. Five members of his family were each given a cardinal's hat; others occupied episcopal thrones that provided plentiful revenues. The laymen among them had no less generous a share in the Pope's favours. They were provided with rectorates or with important offices in Church territories, and were content to accept the emoluments of these lucrative functions that they did not themselves perform.
At the papal court, Clement V's lack of supervision gave rise to regrettable abuses. Disorder and greed reigned to such an extent that the door-keepers and footmen would only allow access to the Pope for a financial consideration. The religious who lived on the route of the progresses of the papal court were indeed unfortunate. The abbot of Cluny, Archbishop Egidio Colonna of Bourges, the inhabitants of Bordeaux, the Church in France--all groaned under the impositions to which they were subjected. Elsewhere, holders of benefices were no better treated. The total of the taxes raised by the collection of annates, fruits during vacancies, tenths, censes and common services, to name but a few, amounted each year according to the calculations of Ehrle 1 to about 200,000 florins. Of this vast sum 100,000 was sufficient for the modest needs of the court; the rest was laid aside, until in nine years' time, the cash in the papal treasury reached the figure of 1,040,000 florins. Clement V's will reveals that he lent 320,000 florins to the kings of France and England, while his nephew, the viscount of Lomagne, received 300,000 florins in return for leading five hundred knights on the crusade for the space of a year and a half or two years; 200,000 were left to his relatives, friends and members of his household, and 200,000 were intended for good causes in the south of France; only 70,000 were bequeathed to his successor.
1 "' Der Nachlass Clemens V. und der in Betreff desselben von Johann XXII. (13181321) geführte Prozess,'" Archiv, VOL. V, 1889, pp. 1-166.
John XXII (1316-34)
CLEMENT V seems to have had some presentiment during his lifetime of the dissensions that would arise in the Sacred College after his death. In 1311 he had published the Constitution Ne Romani, which laid down the conditions in which the conclave was henceforward to be held, and made provision for the occasion when, if the cardinals were unable to agree, they might all leave the conclave simultaneously or successively. Ubi periculum, the earlier Constitution of Gregory X ( 1274), had decreed that in the event of an impasse the governing body of the city where the conclave was gathered--and in the last resort the prince himself, according to the gloss of John Andreas -- was to assume the right to compel the cardinals, by moderate coercion, to resume the preliminaries of the papal election at the point where they had been broken off, that is to say, all the cardinals save those who for reasons of health had a genuine dispensation. Moreover, the election was to be carried out strictly within the limits of the diocese where the Pope had died, or at least in the place where, at the time of his decease, petitions and lawsuits concerning the apostolic see were heard. 1
Towards the beginning of May 1314 the cardinals, in accordance with Clement's prescriptions, assembled at Carpentras where the Curia was established and shut themselves up in the bishop's palace. From the outset a sharp division was evident among them and three factions were formed. The most important of these was the Gascon party consisting of ten cardinals 2 who were confident of the support of the two nephews of the late Pope, namely, Bertrand de Got, viscount of Lomagne and Auvillars, and Raimond Guilhem de Budos. Their implacable opponents, seven in number, 3 formed the Italian party, which was itself divided into three groups. Between the remarkably united Gascon party and the disunited Italian one, there
1 Corpus juris canonici, Bk I, tit. iii, col. 2, in Clem.; >Bk I, tit. vi, col. 3, in VI°.
2 Arnaud de Pellegrue, Arnaud de Faugères, Arnaud Nouvel, Raimond Guilhem de Farges, Bernard de Garves, Arnaud d'Aux, Guillaume-Pierre Godin, Raimond de Got, Vidal du Four, Guillaume Teste.
3 Napoleone Orsini, Niccolò Albertini de Prato, Giacomo Stefaneschi, Francesco Caetani, Pietro and Giacomo Colonna, Guglielmo Longhi.
was a third faction, less coherent than the first and more united than the second, and consisting of cardinals of varying origin: three from Languedoc, the elder and younger Bérenger Frédol and Guillaume de Mandagout; one from Quercy, Jacques Duèse; two from Normandy, Nicolas de Fréauville and Michel du Bec; altogether six cardinals forming a French or Provençal faction.
The Italians, fully aware of their own weakness, joined forces with the Provençal party and cast their votes unanimously for Guillaume de Mandagout. This was an excellent choice, but pleased neither the two named Bérenger Frédol who were aiming at the papal crown themselves, nor the Gascons who wanted to elect one of their own number. Since all the opposing parties clung to their respective positions, not one of the candidates could obtain the required two-thirds majority.
While this discord was reigning in the conclave, serious disturbances broke out in the town of Carpentras. They began with brawling between Italian nationals employed at the papal court and the associates of the Gascon cardinals. Blows were exchanged and some deaths occurred. Taking advantage of this unrest, Gascon gangs led by the viscount of Lomagne and Raimond Guilhem de Budos made their way into the city on the pretext of removing the mortal remains of Clement V. On 24 July 1314, they took up arms, slaughtered some of the Italians, set fire to various parts of the town, attacked the houses where the Italian cardinals were staying and looted the dwellings of the townsfolk, the curial officials and the representatives of Italian banks accredited to the Holy See, making off with substantial booty of money, precious robes and other movable articles. They even besieged the conclave, with cries of 'Death to the Italian cardinals! Death! We want a Pope! We want a Pope!' Another body of armed men marched to the square in front of the bishop's palace, uttering threats of death and making ready to blockade the conclave. The Italian cardinals were so terrified that they made a narrow passage for themselves through a wall behind the besieged palace and fled from Carpentras.
The Gascon cardinals, annoyed at having their plans thwarted, returned for the most part to Avignon and thus revealed their secret intentions. Rather than give in, they had resolved to stand firm, even if a radical cleavage threatened, and to run the risk of schism. The Italians, in order to free themselves from any responsibility and to avert the danger, unmasked these dastardly plans of the Gascons in an encyclical letter, and declared themselves firmly resolved not to recognise anyone elected by the opposing faction, if an election were held in which they had not taken part. In addition, they threatened that they too would proceed to an election.
Almost two years were spent in fruitless discussion. Systematic obstruction by the Gascons prevented any agreement on the choice of a candidate and the place for the conclave. Despite the intervention of European powers, the threat of schism still hung over Christendom.
At last, in March 1316, the tension was eased. After they had exacted a solemn promise that 'no violence should be exercised against them, and that they would not be compelled to go into seclusion in order to proceed to an election,' the cardinals yielded to the persuasions of Philip, count of Poitiers, the leader of the French embassy, and set off slowly for Lyons. While confabulations were being held without result in the Dominican convent, called the Convent of Comfort, Louis X, 'le Hutin,' died. The Count of Poitiers could not decide what to do. On the one hand, he did not like to leave Lyons without having seen a Pope elected; on the other, he was impatient to reach Paris, where he was summoned by his own interests. His advisers decided that the promise made to the cardinals not to shut them up in conclave was nullified in view of the threat of schism.
On 28 June, troops sealed off the convent of the Dominicans where the Sacred College was assembled. The count of Forez told the cardinals bluntly that they would only regain their freedom when they had given a Pope to the Church.
At the end of July they had still reached no agreement. The candidatures of Arnaud Nouvel, Guillaume de Mandagout, Arnaud de Pellegrue, Bérenger Frédol the elder and a prelate not a member of the Sacred College were all rejected in turn. But since the intrigues of Pietro Colonna had exasperated Napoleone Orsini, the latter had a meeting on 5 August with Giacomo Stefaneschi, Francesco Caetani and Arnaud de Pellegrue, the leader of the Gascon group. The name of Jacques Duèse, the favourite candidate of the count of Poitiers and King Robert of Naples, was proposed and accepted. The following day, 6 August, the Cardinal-bishop of Porto was assured of eighteen votes. The dissidents, deciding that their opposition was useless and making a virtue of necessity, made over the balance of their votes to him, and on 7 August 1316 he was elected. 1
In voting at Lyons for Jacques Duèse, the Gascon party had acted less from personal sympathy for him than from inability to do other-
1 G. Mollat, ' L'Élection du pape Jean XXII,' Revue d'histoire de l'Église de France VOL. I, 1910, pp. 34-49, 147-66. The researches of E. Albe have established without any doubt that the story that John XXII was a cobbler's son must be regarded as nothing more than a fable. Though not of noble birth, Jacques Duèse was born into a rich bourgeois family at Cahors and baptised in the parish of St Bartholomew. After
wise and in despair of any other solution. It appears, too, that this candidature was accepted because of the Pope's age -- he was about seventy-two -- and his sickly appearance. The Gascons, who bore with an ill-grace the set-back they had suffered in the conclave, expected shortly to be revenged. A page of the viscount of Lomagne denounced a plot hatched against the Pope's life by the Cardinals Arnaud de Pellegrue, Guillaume Teste, Bernard de Garves and Bérenger Frédol the younger. The conspirators, so he alleged, planned to assassinate the Pope in full Consistory and to wipe out the Cahors following. 1
The enquiry into this perhaps imaginary conspiracy was without result. Later, the Gascons, especially the viscount de Bruniquel, Bishop Gailhard de Pressac of Toulouse and Arnaud de Pellegrue, were to be compromised in quite another way at the trial of Hugues Géraud, the bishop of Cahors.
This prelate, who had been guilty of peculation and simony, feared that all was lost when canonical proceedings were begun against him at Avignon. In order to escape punishment, he conceived the idea of cunningly contriving the death of John XXII in such a way that it would be attributed to his advanced age. Once he had decided on this crime, it remained to carry it out without arousing suspicion. Hugues Géraud made two stewards of the papal household, Pons de Vassal and Isarn d'Escodata, his accomplices; they agreed to put slow poisons, such as arsenic, into the beverages and dishes presented to the Pope. Then he asked his treasurer at Toulouse, Aymeric de Belvèze, to procure harmful powders and wax figures with which he could practise sorcery, for in the efficacity of this there was general belief in the fourteenth century.
The messenger from the bishop of Cahors faithfully carried out his mission. He suborned the Jew, Bonmacip, who brought to Hugues Géraud everything needed to practise sorcery against his enemies. A wax image was first made of Jacques de Via, the favourite nephew of John XXII, who did in fact die on 13 June 1317. Hugues Géraud and his confederates lost no opportunity of attributing his death to their spells. Then it was the Pope's turn.
To achieve their ends, Aymeric de Belvèze procured poisons from an apothecary at Toulouse, and bought three wax figures from the
1 E. Albe, Hugues Géraud, évêque de Cahors. L'affaire des poisons et des envoûtements en 1317, Cahors 1904, pp. 131-3.
1 studying in his native town and at Montpellier he became successively archpriest of St André at Cahors, canon of St Front at Périgueux and of Albi, archpriest of Sarlat, dean of Puy, bishop of Fréjus ( 4 February 1300), chancellor to Charles II of Anjou (1308), bishop of Avignon ( 18 March 1310), cardinal-priest of St Vitale ( 24 December 1312) and cardinal-bishop of Porto ( May 1313).
Jew, Bernard Jourdain. These images were baptised in the chapel of the archbishop's palace, in the presence of Gailhard de Pressac, of the viscount de Bruniquel and of half a score of witnesses, by Bernard Gasc, bishop of Ganos, vested with a stole. After this, each figure was given a strip of virgin parchment, on which were written these words: 'May Pope John die, and not another.' 'May Bertrand du Poujet die, and not another.''May Gaucelme de Jean die, and not another.' Then each figure, together with the poisons, was hidden in a loaf from which the inside had been scooped out, and which was carefully wrapped up and handed over to bearers who were leaving for Avignon under the escort of one Perrot de Béarn.
When they reached their destination, the mysterious appearance of the travellers aroused the suspicions of the papal police. They were arrested, their baggage seized and the incriminating images discovered. Interrogated concerning the instigators of the plot against the Pope's life, the men from Toulouse supplied no information; they only knew those who had hired them. Hugues Géraud, instead of lying low, committed the amazing blunder of attracting attention by careless gossip. At the end of May 1317 the police arrested him in his turn and, with the assistance of the sergeants of the king of France, were successful in seizing his many accomplices. Criminal proceedings were begun, and Hugues Géraud was declared guilty of an attempt of assassination by poison and witchcraft made against the persons of the Pope, Bertrand du Poujet and Gaucelme de Jean, guilty of regicide, and guilty of the murder of Jacques de Via. Then he was degraded from the episcopate and handed over to the secular arm, in other words, brought before Arnaud de Trian, the marshal of justice at the court of Avignon, who condemned him, as a murderer, to death by burning. Hugues Géraud died at the stake. 1
The story of Hugues Géraud gives us some idea of the serious difficulties with which John XXII had to contend after his election. The court was disorganised because of the long vacancy in the Holy See; the apostolic treasury was exhausted by Clement V's fantastic legacies and by the extravagance of his nephews; the independence of the Papacy was compromised by the intrigues of Philip the Fair; war was rumbling in Italy, and the East was threatened by the Turks; such was the situation in 1316. If the Papacy was to recapture the authority it had lost during the previous pontificate and command the respect of the nations, it would have to strengthen the bonds that linked it to Christendom, become the leader of every great enterprise
1 G. Mollat, "' Un Évêque supplicié au temps de Jean XXII,'" Revue pratique d'apologétique, VOL. IV, 1907, pp. 753-67; E. Albe, op. cit.
for the public good, cause its judgment to be sought in cases of litigation and distribute its benefits judiciously wherever circumstances made this possible. For more than eighteen years John XXII endeavoured with remarkable determination to achieve this lofty purpose.
In the fourteenth century no power, even one essentially spiritual, could rule the world unless it was able to enforce its actions by the possession of territorial and financial property. John XXII acquired riches by creating a vast fiscal system which made available to him considerable pecuniary resources. Ecclesiastical benefices were subject to a variety of taxes: annates, fruits during vacancies, tenths, charitative subsidies, rights of spoil, etc. 1 Gold flowed into the Church's coffers so copiously that contemporaries believed the Pope to have a huge treasury. Giovanni Villani in his Istorie fiorentine says that John XXII left at his death more than eighteen million gold florins and the equivalent of seven million more in church vessels, crosses, crowns, mitres, jewels and precious stones; in round figures twenty-five million gold florins. Galvano Fiamma improves upon Villani's figure and makes it twenty-two million, not counting the jewels. Matthias von Neuenburg is more conservative: he reckons the papal fortune at seventeen million gold florins. In reality the treasury deposit, at the time of the Pope's death, amounted to about 750,000 florins. 2
John XXII, a man of simple habits, sober way of life and personal frugality, reorganised his court from the moment of his accession, taking care to banish extravagance without incurring the reproach of miserliness. We learn this from a very interesting letter addressed to Philip the Tall, in which the Pope invited the king to organise the expenses and regulate the various services of his court on the model of the papal one. Doubtless the model proposed was a convincing one, and the king acceded to the Supreme Pontiff's request. 3 Indeed, an examination of the registers of the Apostolic Camera gives the impression that the organisation of the papal court and the administration of its finances were carefully regulated, so that Müntz could without exaggeration call John XXII 'an incomparable administrator.' 4
His gifts as an administrator are more particularly shown in the
1 See below, Bk III, ch. 11.
2 G. Mollat, "'Jean XXII fut-il un avare?'" R.H.E. VOL. V, 1904, pp. 530-2; E. Göller, Die Einnahmen der apostolischen Kammer unter Johann XXII, ed. Görres- Gesellschaft, Paderborn 1910-37, pp. 122 ? -34 ?. On the value of the florin see K. H. Schäfer, Die Ausgaben der apostolischen Kammer unter Johann XXII, Paderborn 1911, pp. 53 ? -62 ?.
3 Coulon, nos. 513, 1051.
4 Müntz, in R.Q.H. VOL. LXVI, 1899, p. 14.
way in which he gathered all the machinery of Church government into his own hands. In the Constitution Ex debito, 1 John XXII extended papal reservations to include a large number of benefices whose collation he retained for himself. He bestowed bishoprics as he thought best, and almost did away with elections by cathedral chapters. In this way, the Holy See created a vast number of clients who aspired to ecclesiastical honours for themselves or their protégés. Foremost among these were heads of state, then princes, minor noblemen, prelates, corporate bodies such as universities, and lastly ordinary collators of benefices who had been deprived of their right of nomination. A kind of tacit agreement existed between these persons and the Pope, which such a man as John XXII was able to exploit to his own advantage. The Pope had the art of making his favours sought after, and many were obliged to beg for them. 2
The movement towards centralisation, which was so emphatically imposed on the Church and which was to increase still more as time went on, was to give the Papacy a power with which the governments of all countries had to reckon and negotiate.
Original as were the Pope's views, they none the less brought with them inevitable consequences. In making the Church rich and powerful was there no risk of introducing a worldly spirit and neglecting the concern with souls? Had not Christ preached poverty and freedom from material goods? Some consciences were shocked by the new direction the Church was taking. Those most inclined to criticise were the Franciscans of the province of Provence whose wholehearted advocacy of poverty went as far as complete absence of worldly goods and actual begging. They were commonly given the name of 'Spirituals'. They became enthusiastic supporters of the apocalyptic speculations of Gerard di Borgo San Donnino, Pierre Jean Olieu and Ubertino da Casale, which had developed from the dangerously extravagant ideas of Joachim of Flora. These visionaries proclaimed that the era of the Holy Ghost had arrived, and the day of the Church, given over to avarice, pride and the delights of the flesh, was over; she had become 'Babylon, the great whore, who has ruined and poisoned mankind'; the Pope was Antichrist. The official priesthood would be succeeded by monasticism, which would regenerate men and lead them back to the practice of Christian virtues: humility, chastity and above all absolute poverty.
Excitement increased when, at the request of the General of the Friars Minor, Michael of Cesena, John XXII cut short, without right
1 Corpus juris canonici, Extravagantes communes, Bk I, tit. iii, col. 4.
2 J. Haller, Papsttum und Kirchenreform, VOL. I, pp. 115-21, 133-53.
of appeal, the troublesome litigation which had for long divided the Spirituals and the Conventuals, concerning the form of the Franciscan habit and the lawfulness of their dues of corn, wine and oil from granaries and cellars. Most of the Spirituals refused to divest themselves of their short, narrow, patched gowns which were condemned in the Constitution Quorundam exigit ( 7 October 1317), and they denied the legitimacy of the provision of food. All the efforts made by John XXII to enforce obedience on these professed lovers of humility, were in vain. Confronted with an opposition spurred on by the notorious Bernard Délicieux, and the revelation of obviously schismatic tendencies, the Pope was obliged to exercise his authority. The Bulls Sancta Romana ( 30 December 1317) and Gloriosam Ecclesiam ( 23 January 1318) declared the fraticelli, beghards, bizoches and brethren of the life of poverty to be excommunicate, and commanded them to dissolve the independent associations which, under cover of privileges granted by Celestine V, they were trying to form in Sicily, Italy and southern France. Those who resisted were seized by the Inquisition and imprisoned or burned alive. 1
But soon the Holy See was involved in a conflict of a much more serious kind, not this time with a small band of fanatics, but with almost the whole Franciscan order. The dispute began in 1322 over an entirely theological issue: did Christ and the apostles practise poverty to the extent of possessing nothing, either in common or individually? John XXII, a man of an essentially practical nature, wished to dispose of the ambiguities dating from the somewhat obscure Constitutions of Nicholas III ( Exiit qui seminat ) and the Council of Vienne ( Exivi de Paradiso ). He consulted bishops, cardinals and theologians of repute. 2 When discussions began at Avignon, conflicting opinions were freely put forward. Meanwhile Michael of Cesena, acting with insolent audacity, did not await the Holy See's decision: on 30 May 1322 the chapter-general of Perugia declared itself convinced of the absolute poverty of Christ and the Apostles. John XXII could have struck at these dissidents without delay, but was content to revoke the Bull Exiit qui seminat which declared that all property of the Friars Minor, in lands, houses, furniture and money, belonged to the Roman Church, and that they had only the use of it ( Bull Ad conditorem canonum, 8 December 1322). The dogmatic Constitution Cum Inter Nonnullos was published on 12 November 1323 and it condemned the declaration of the chapter of Perugia as heretical.
1 J. -M. Vidal, Procès d'inquisition contre Adhémar de Mosset, Perpignan 1912, pp. 4-18.
2 F. Tocco, La quistione della povertà nel secolo XIV, 1910, passim.
The Pope's decisions unleashed a furious storm among the Franciscans. Some fanatical brethren considered that the apostasy of the official Church now seemed complete. Michael of Cesena, whose activities and violence of language had damaged his reputation, was summoned to Avignon to account for himself, and kept there as a kind of prisoner. During the night of 26-27 May 1328 he escaped, went to seek refuge at the court of Louis of Bavaria and joined the party of the antiPope Nicholas V, the friar minor Pietro Rainallucci da Corbara. The conclusion of the schism on 25 July 1330 did not bring the Franciscan opposition to an end. Michael of Cesena was deprived of his dignities as General by the section of his order that remained faithful to John XXII; he died impenitent in 1348. However, the ranks of the rebels of whom he was the chief were eventually thinned.
John XXII was not neglectful of the spiritual well-being of Christendom, whatever the critics of the Papacy might say to the contrary. He was, perhaps, an even more able reformer than his successor Benedict XII. In 1317 was published the Seventh Book of the Decretals, which Clement V had died too soon to promulgate; this was the beginning of the canonical work that the Pope was to bequeath to posterity. The Extravagantes were for long to serve as a basis for ecclesiastical jurisprudence. The Bull Execrabilis 1, dated 19 November 1317, revoked the dispensations granted to the clergy by Clement V which allowed them to hold several benefices. This custom had led, especially in Spain and England, to notorious abuses, which were stamped out by John XXII with an energy of which his correspondence gives ample proof. Unfortunately he showed undue favouritism to his kindred, courtiers and cardinals and to the sons of kings and great lords. In the same way he carried to excessive lengths the practice of converting the revenues from benefices into salaries for officials of the Papal Court; this meant that prelates were encouraged not to comply with their obligations of residence.
The vast area of the diocese of Toulouse had not been conducive to the spiritual welfare of the faithful. As early as the beginning of the thirteenth century, Foulques de Marseille had recommended the division of his diocese as the most effective remedy against the spread of heresy. It would be easier, he thought, for several bishops to track down error than for a single prelate who had too vast a territory to govern. Rather late in the day, the Papacy busied itself with carrying out this plan. On 23 July 1295, Boniface VIII had created the diocese of Pamiers. John XXII completed the work of his predecessor by
1 Corpus juris canonici, Extrav. Joan. XXII, tit. iii, col. 1.
carving out of the magnificent territory of Toulouse the six bishoprics of Montauban, Rieux, Lombez, St Papoul, Mirepoix and Lavaur, which, together with that of Pamiers, constituted a new ecclesiastical province ( 1317-18).
This parcelling out was perhaps carried to rather extreme lengths. The bishoprics created by John XXII existed in a constant state of poverty. It had been imprudent to seize as a basis for territorial reform the momentary prosperity of revenues subject to endless variations.
Other French dioceses were divided up, but in a less drastic fashion. Clermont lost the territory of St Flour; Albi that of Castres; Périgueux that of Sarlat; Poitiers those of Luqon and Maillezais; Rodez that of Vabres; Limoges that of Tulle; Agen that of Condom; while Narbonne gave rise to the dioceses of St Pons de Thomières and Alet ( 1317-18). 1
In Aragon, on 18 July 1318, the province of Tarragona was divided into two archbishoprics: Saragossa, which took over five of the suffragan bishops, and Tarragona which kept seven of its former churches. 2
In Italy, the making of the abbey of Monte Cassino into a bishopric ( 2 May 1322) seems to have been an unfortunate step; Urban V revoked it in 1367. 3
On the other hand, the establishment of the ecclesiastical hierarchy in Persia and the creation of the archbishopric of Sultanieh greatly helped the expansion of Christendom. 4
The increase of pastors throughout Christendom bears witness to John XXII's constant desire to keep a watchful eye on the spiritual well-being of the faithful. It was this same preoccupation that led him to inaugurate a lively reaction against the reign of Clement V, which was upbraided for its weak and even indulgent attitude towards heresy. The Inquisition had not found favour with Clement: it had its revenge under his successor. At no other time in the fourteenth century was it so active; never did it hand over so many victims to the stake. The Waldenses, refugee Catharists, fraticelli, beghards, and warlocks, magicians and sorcerers were all mercilessly persecuted. In Dauphiné, two inquisitors, the Friars Minor Catalan Faure and
1 J. -M. Vidal, Les Origines de la province ecclésiastique de Toulouse (1295-1318), Toulouse 1908, pp. 42-91 (reprinted from Annales du Midi, VOL. XV). J. Contrasty, Histoire de la cité de Rieux- Volvestre et de ses évêques, Toulouse 1936. (This work points out that John XXII wished, not to punish the bishop of Toulouse, but to put a term to the abuses brought about by the extent and prosperity of the diocese.)
2 Cocquelines, Bullarum, privilegiorum ac diplomatum Romanorum pontificum amplissima collectio, VOL. III, pt 2, doc. XVI, p. 167.
3 Ibid. pp. 185, 327.
4 Mollat, no. 8187, 1 May 1318.
Pierre Pascal paid for their excess of zeal with their lives in 1321. 1
The protection which John XXII extended to the Inquisition-and which was shown especially in the case of Bernard Délicieux-was by no means without discrimination. The Pope, faithfully observing the Council of Vienne's decree Multorum, counter-balanced the influence of the Inquisitor by making the collaboration of the Ordinary compulsory. If he had any reason to suspect the procedure of certain judges of the Inquisition, he had no hesitation in withdrawing their right to hear cases and in handing such cases over to a more impartial tribunal. More than once his intervention prevented a miscarriage of justice and kept Inquisitors from avenging their hatred or private spite. 2
John XXII was to act in the same way towards the religious orders as towards the Inquisition. His authoritarian temperament led him to interfere in their private affairs. We have already seen how he tried to bring the Franciscans back into line and to stamp out the disputes by which they were rent. His intervention in the grave crisis through which the Knights Hospitallers were passing was beneficial in a different way.
The Grand Master of the Hospitallers was Foulques de Villaret, an unjust man, a poor administrator, and fond of extravagance and ostentation. He had allowed disorder to creep into his congregation and contracted heavy debts. His knights, dissatisfied with him, had shut him up in the castle of Lindos at Rhodes, deposed him, and put in his stead Maurice de Pagnac ( 1317). The deposition of Foulques was valid, but public opinion remained on his side, for he was known as a brave soldier who had achieved resounding successes in the East for the Catholic cause.
John XXII after summoning both Pagnac and Villaret to Avignon, tried to gain time by appointing, as vicar-general, Brother Géraud de Pins. Realising that irremediable disaster was threatening the Hospitallers and that they themselves were powerless to deal with it, the Pope took their interests in hand and saved them whether they would or no, without troubling to respect their prerogatives. 'Thus he renewed the general privileges of the order, and, from a disciplinary point of view, compelled the rebellious brethren to submit to the Master's authority, and the prelates to recall the knights to a less dissolute way of life, to less luxury in their dress, and to passive
1 J. Chevalier, Mémoire historique sur les hérésies en Dauphiné avant le XVIe siècle, Valence 1890, pp. 12-16.
2 C. Douais, "' Guillaume Garric de Carcassonne . . . et le Tribunal de l'Inquisition (1285-1329),'" Annales du Midi, VOL. X, 1898, pp. 5-45; J. -M. Vidal, Bullaire de l'Inquisition française au XIVe Siècle, Paris 1913.
obedience. He ordered the chapters of priories to meet yearly and declared that no brother should benefit from two offices at once. In order to prevent the diminution of the Hospitallers' possessions, he forbade the Grand Master to allow any alienation of land, ordered that the fines should be exacted for alienations already authorised, and appointed judges to preserve the privileges of the order and to recover goods that had been sold. In collaboration with the chancellor, Pierre de l'Ongle, and the visitor, Léonard de Tiberti, . . . he took energetic measures to wipe out the debts that threatened the very existence of the order; starting on 21 July 1317, . . . he proceeded to a new method of appointing all the priors for a period of ten years from 1 February 1318. Sometimes his choice fell on former holders of the office, sometimes on new men, and it was always inspired by his determination to put experienced administrators in these posts. Since he was convinced that normal resources were inadequate to re-establish financial equilibrium, he instituted a special tax, which each prior was bound to pay over and above the usual commitments of priories; the rate for this was fixed in proportion to the importance of each priory.' 1
Having decreed all these measures of reform, John XXII annulled the election of Maurice de Pagnac on 1 March 1319 and, after compensating him, reinstated Foulques de Villaret in his charge. The Pope then obtained Villaret's resignation, appointed him prior of Capua, exempted him from the exercise of juridical powers over the order and caused his successor to be elected. It is thus to John XXII that credit must be given for saving the order of Hospitallers when it was about to founder, and so preserving for Christendom its most intrepid defenders against the Turks. 2
At about the same period, the order of Grandmont was going through a similar crisis. The twenty-first prior, Jourdan de Rapistan, who had been leading a scandalous life and dissipating the riches of the community to pay for his wild extravagance, was deposed in 1315 by seven definitores (counsellors within the order) who in the following year elected in his stead the corrector of Louye, Hélie Ademar. Riots broke out among the partisans of the two rivals, and the order seemed about to break up. 3 It owed its salvation to John XXII, who, after insisting on the resignation of both claimants, reorganised it from top to bottom ( 17 November 1317). 4 The priory became the
1 J. Delaville le Roulx, Les Hospitaliers à Rhodes, Paris 1913, VOL. I, p. 20.
2 Ibid. pp. 12-28, 51-61.
3 A. Lecler, "' Histoire de l'abbaye de Grandmont,'" Bulletin de la Société Archéologique et Historique du Limousin, VOL. LVIII, 1908-09, pp. 478-82.
4 Cocquelines, op. cit. VOL. III, pt 2, doc. XII, pp. 155-60.
seat of an abbey. The order, which had previously had one hundred and fifty-two cells or correctories, was reduced to thirty-nine conventual priories, whose priors were to be appointed by the Holy Father in the first instance. Subsequently these office-holders were to be elected. The number of visitors was increased from three to four.
Moreover, John XXII used the spoils of the Templars to create the order of Montesa in Aragon ( 10 June 1317) and that of Christ in Portugal ( 14 March 1319). Both of these were to carry on the struggle against the Moors. 1
While John XXII continued to uphold Clement V's Constitution Dudum a Bonifacio 2. which restricted the privileges of the regular clergy, he defended the mendicant orders against the attacks of the secular clergy. A master of the University of Paris, Jean de Pouilly, had taught that the jurisdiction of prelates, bishops and humble priests came directly from God, and that as a result any privilege contrary to this jurisdiction, even though granted by the Holy See, was null and void. Very serious consequences resulted from these principles: since only the parish priest had the power to absolve his parishioners, absolution pronounced by the regular clergy, even those endowed with apostolic indulgences, was invalid, and the penitent was obliged to make a new confession to his own pastor. Realising the unrest caused by such theories, which constituted an unmistakable threat to the universal jurisdiction of the Holy See, John XXII summoned the Parisian master to Avignon. A theological debate took place in his presence, and the discussion put Jean de Pouilly to confusion. On 24 July 1321, his errors were condemned in the Bull Vas electionis. 3
Doctrinal disputes were not brought to an end with the case of Jean de Pouilly. On 8 February 1326 sixty propositions, that a commission of eight theologians had selected from Pierre Jean Olieu's commentary on the Apocalypse, were censured. 4 In 1329, twentyeight propositions drawn from the writings of the German mystic, Meister Eckhart, were censured; seven of them were marked down as heretical, and eleven as scandalous and suspect of heresy. 5
It is a curious fact that a pontiff so zealous in stamping out all forms of controversy should have started one himself which had imªD mediate repercussions. On All Saints' Day 1331, at the church of
1 Baluze, Vitae, VOL. III, pp, 256-63. Mollat, no. 9053.
2 Corpusjuris canonici, Bk III, tit. vii, col. 2, in Clem
3 Ibid. Extravagantes communes, Bk V, tit. iii, col. 2. Denifle and Chatelain, Chartularium, VOL, II, p. 243, no. 798.
4 Baluze- Mansi, Miscellanea, VOL. II, pp. 258-72.
5 H. Denifle, "' Meister Eckehart's lateinische Schriften und die Grundanschauung seiner Lehre,'" Archiv, VOL. II, 1886, pp. 416-640.
Notre-Dame-des-Doms, John XXII put himself on the side of a very few theologians and, contrary to the accepted opinion of learned theologians no less than the general belief of the faithful, preached the strange doctrine that the souls of the just, before the resurrection of the body, will enjoy no intuitive vision of God; they must remain sub altare Dei, created anew by the vision of Christ's humanity; after the last judgment they will be placed on the altar, and will contemplate the divine essence.
In a second sermon preached on 15 December, the Pope developed this theory and declared that 'Before the resurrection of the body, departed souls possess neither eternal life, nor true beatitude, nor the beatific vision.'
On 5 January he deduced from his doctrine that neither the damned nor the devils live in Hell at present, and that this place of torment will only become their abode after the end of the world.
Public opinion was dumbfounded by these three sermons. The General of the Friars Minor, Guiral Ot, ranged himself on the side of the Pope's teaching; but the supporters of Louis of Bavaria, Michael of Cesena, William of Ockham and Bonagrazia of Bergamo, priding themselves for once on their orthodoxy, hastened to proclaim John XXII a heretic. Cardinal Napoleone Orsini, who was living at Avignon, encouraged these erring Franciscans, and was busy intriguing with the Bavarian to depose the Pope, to whom they mockingly referred as ' Jacques of Cahors.' Jacques Fournier, who was to become Benedict XII, and the German Ulrich then joined in the fray, and had no difficulty in proving that the Pope, speaking as a private theologian and on a point of undefined doctrine, was quite free to uphold the opinion that seemed most likely to him. In a very short time, in any case, John XXII declared that he had only wished to speak as a private theologian. 1
Far, indeed, from imposing his opinion on others, John XXII made every possible effort to clarify the doubt that had arisen in his own mind. He sought the opinion of the bishops and invited the most learned masters of theology to take part in the controversy. At his request, the famous theologian Durand de St Pourçain wrote a treatise in favour of the beatific vision but included in it ten or eleven propositions of doubtful orthodoxy; these were submitted to the scrutiny of several theologians and eventually not indicted.
In France, a regrettable incident gave rise to more spiritual unrest. Passing through Paris on his way to England, Guiral Ot was rash enough to preach the doctrine to which the Pope adhered. Im-
1 See below, p. 23, the recantation of John XXII.
mediately the University of Paris protested; the king was shocked by the incident. A gathering of prelates and masters of theology met at the castle of Vincennes on 19 December 1333 and roundly declared itself in disagreement with the doctrine put forward by Guiral Ot; its decision was forwarded to the Papal Court.
In Germany, the rebel Franciscans William of Ockham and Bonagrazia of Bergamo protested against the 'errors' put forward by ' Jacques of Cahors.' According to them, a heretic had usurped the pontifical throne. Meanwhile, in Avignon, Cardinal Napoleone Orsini was endeavouring by intrigue to hasten the convocation of a Council to judge the Pope. It was at this juncture that John XXII fell seriously ill. He recanted on 3 December 1334 in the presence of his cardinals. His declaration of faith ends thus: 'In this manner we declare the mind that we have now and have had, in union with the Holy Catholic Church. We confess and believe that souls separated from their bodies and fully purged from guilt are above, in the kingdom of heaven, in paradise and with Jesus Christ, in the company of the angels, and that according to the universal law, they see God and the divine essence face to face and clearly, so far as the state and condition of a separated soul permits.' These last words really constitute 'a reservation, showing after all that there is a possibility that separated souls see God differently from those souls that are reunited to their bodies.' The Pope was only partially renouncing his conviction, even while he humbly submitted himself to the decisions of the Church in a matter in which the doctrine had not yet been formulated. 1 At about the hour of prime on 4 December, the old man died: he had reached the age of ninety. 2
John XXII was so much disparaged by his contemporaries and his memory has been so mercilessly attacked by his enemies, 3 that to try to sketch his portrait is perhaps foolhardy. However, even making some use of the writings of his detractors, it is possible to fix on the following characteristics as genuine. John XXII had a small, delicate physique and pale complexion, a gift of quick repartee, a peremptory and impetuous manner and an extraordinarily lively mind. He was a true son of Cahors in being astute and able to probe quickly into the secret plans of the politicians and place-seekers who tried to circumvent him. The account of the audiences granted to the ambassadors of King James II of Aragon are remarkably informative. For all they
1 X. le Bachelet, in Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique, VOL. II, 1905, cols. 657-69. Denifle and Chatelain, Chartularium, VOL. II, nos. 970-87. N. Valois, in Histoire Littéraire de la France, VOL. XXIV, pp. 551-627.
2 E. Göller, Die Einnahmen, p. 16 ?. The Archives of Vaucluse: Collection of the Metropolitan chapter.
3 Regesta Vaticana, 131, fol. 59v ep. 212.
were on their guard, these diplomatists contradicted themselves, to the great joy of the Pope, who could not conceal his malicious laughter. 1
John was not only blessed with energy and will-power, but possessed a toughness astonishing in a man of his age. His capacity for work was incredible. He was able to carry on simultaneously the most varied activities: thus, at more or less the same time he was striving to end the old enmity dividing the kings of England and France and which threatened at any moment to set them at each other's throats, and to settle the dissensions between quite minor country squires like those from Quercy, the lords of Castelnau, Thémines, Peyrilles and Gourdon. He dealt with the innumerable and exceptionally serious difficulties caused him by the Visconti in Milan, by Louis of Bavaria, the rebel Franciscans under the leadership of Michael of Cesena, the schism of Pietro da Corbara, and by the rebellion of the towns in the Papal States. At the same time he concerned himself with sending the West to conquer the Holy Places and to spread the knowledge of the Gospel to the very borders of Tartary. He not only reorganised the Church, but devoted his attention to the niceties of the negotiations carried on by the nuncios and legates that he sent to every part of Christendom, from Portugal to farthest Poland, and from Sicily to Scotland and Norway.
This characteristic energy of John XXII was shown in the government of the Church by vigorous action and sometimes by rigorous measures; but it did not degenerate into harshness or cruelty. Indeed, the Pope would have been within his rights had he meted out severe punishments to the cardinals and prelates most deeply compromised in the trial of Hugues Géraud. His alleged harshness was in fact nothing more than an insistence on strict obedience to the orders of the Holy See. It is not borne out by the affable tone of John XXII's correspondence. He shows great delicacy of feeling in consoling the unhappy Queen Clementia on the untimely death of her son. He mourns the death of Philip V the Tall with sincere feeling and invites his widow to place her whole confidence in him, like a beloved daughter in her father. 2
John XXII carried family affection and esteem for his compatriots to excessive lengths. He lavished worldly goods on his brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, his kindred and all those who were connected closely or distantly with the Duèse family. Natives of Quercy
1 H. Finke, Acta Aragonensia, Münster-Berlin, 1908-23, VOL. I, p. xviii; VOL. II, pp. 218, 797.
2 Coulon, nos. 71, 1351, 1367 . A. M. Huffelmann, Clemenza von Ungarn, Königin von Frankreich, Berlin 1911.
occupied all the offices and dignities of the Church: some were robed in cardinal's purple, others were given administrative offices in the court or the papal residence; some were legates and nuncios, others stewards, cup-bearers, scribes or clerks of the wardrobe. Pierre Duèse, the Pope's own brother, received as much as 60,000 gold florins for the purchase of lands, one of which carried with it the title of viscount of Caraman. 1
There are certain extenuating circumstances for this undeniable nepotism. 2 The conspiracies at the beginning of his reign had given John XXII a legitimate desire to surround himself with trustworthy and devoted friends. In order to make sure that his Italian policy would succeed, he thought it necessary to place those he could trust on the episcopal thrones of the peninsula. His chief reason for making the episcopate consist of his minions was the desire for a forceful centralisation of power. Moreover, those who enjoyed his favour did not prove unworthy of it; far from it. Such men as Bertrand du Poujet, Gaucelme de Jean, Bertrand de Montfavès, Gasbert de Laval and Aimeric de Châtelus, to name but a few of the most famous, rendered distinguished services to the Church.
1 E. Albe, Quelques-unes des dernières volontésde Jean XXII, Cahors 1903, pp. 6-7.
2 E. Albe, Autour de Jean XXII, Rome 1903-06, VOL. I, pp. 1-3, 57-9.
Benedict XII (1334-42)
IN accordance with the directions of Gregory X, the cardinals, to the number of twenty-four, shut themselves up in conclave in the papal palace, on 13 December 1334, under the double guard of the seneschal of Provence and the rector of the Comtat-Venaissin. Seven days later, on 20 December at about the hour of vespers, Jacques Fournier was unanimously elected by ballot, and chose the name of Benedict XII. 1 His coronation took place on 8 January 1335 in the church of the Dominicans at Avignon.
The new Pope came from Saverdun, a little town in the county of Foix, and was of humble family. He entered the Cistercian monastery of Boulbonne (Haute-Garonne) at an early age, and there soon made his profession. His paternal uncle, Arnaud Nouvel, brought him to the monastery of Fontfroide (Aude) of which he was abbot, and later sent him to the College of St Bernardin Paris. There Jacques Fournier attended lectures conscientiously, passed his theological examinations up to the doctorate and even held a chair. In 1311, he succeeded his uncle, who had been made a cardinal, as abbot of Fontfroide. Later, higher honours came his way: on 19 March 1317 he was appointed bishop of Pamiers, and on 3 March 1326, bishop of Mirepoix. 2
As bishop of Pamiers, Jacques Fournier was noted for the zeal with which he pursued the Waldensian, Catharist and Albigensian heretics who had fled to his diocese, which had become a kind of Promised Land to heresy. In agreement with the Inquisitor of Carcassonne he set up a tribunal and set to work with vigour. Between 15 July 1318 and 9 October 1325, his court of justice sat for no less
1 Villani alone relates the following anecdote. The cardinals had been split into two factions, a French party under Talleyrand de Périgord and an Italian one led by Giovanni Colonna. The French faction exacted a formal promise from their candidate, Jean de Comminges, not to take the Holy See back to Italy. Jean de Comminges refused, and the cardinals then transferred their votes to Jacques Fournier, although they did not regard him as a serious candidate. This move succeeded contrary to their expectations, and Jacques, as much surprised at his election as were those who had voted for him, is alleged to have cried out, 'You have elected an ass.' Cf. Muratori VOL. XIII, col. 766, According to Matthias von Neuenburg (ed. Hofmeister, VOL. I, p. 126) Benedict only received two-thirds of the votes.
2 Mollat, nos. 3206, 24542.
than three hundred and seventy days, and five hundred and seventyeight witnesses and accused appeared before it. He was the terror of heretics, who in their turn showered insults and curses upon him. Some called him 'The Devil', or the 'Spirit of Evil'. Another said, 'May he fall over a cliff,' while yet another groaned, 'So long as he still remains alive, it means death for us all. He is a demon infesting the country. 1
The manner in which Fournier conducted interrogatories shows him to have been an expert inquisitor, extracting admissions with masterly skill, and showing himself unsympathetic and even harsh to the accused. Nevertheless, he was not blinded by his avowed hatred of heresy: he showed himself to be an upright judge, extremely punctilious, so conscientious that he insisted on being present at every session of the trial, and very rarely relied on his subordinates to carry out minor formalities. Once he had obtained confessions, he showed forbearance and consideration and was indulgent in allotting punishment and softening the harshness of the inquisitorial code: he only sent four Waldensians and one relapsed Catharist to the stake. 2
His zeal had its reward: on two separate occasions, John XXII 3 congratulated him warmly on having rooted out heresy both in the diocese of Pamiers and in that of Mirepoix; on 18 December 1327 he made him cardinal-priest of St Prisca.
During his time as cardinal, Jacques Fournier earned the wholehearted confidence and respect of John XXII. He was put in charge of examining the appeals which came up from the Inquisition to the court of Avignon; between 1330 and 1334he appeared as judge in the actions brought against the German fraticello Conrad, the Inquisitor of Carcassonne, Jean Galand, the Breton priest Yves de Kerinou, the English Dominican Thomas Wallis and the knight Adhémar de Mosset. 4 His knowledge of theology was especially displayed at the time of the notorious controversies that arose concerning both the poverty of Christ and the beatific vision. John XXII, who guessed his ability, was anxious to have his opinion and gave him the opportunity to write several treatises. His works at this period include a treatise against the fraticelli, a refutation of the errors of Joachim of Flora and Meister Eckhart, a treatise on the doctrines of Michael of Cesena, William of Ockham and Pierre Jean Olieu, a treatise on the state of the souls of the righteous before the Last Judgment and
1 J.-M. Vidal, Le Tribunal d'inquisition de Pamiers, Toulouse 1906, pp. 76, 77.
2 Ibid. pp. 75-81; 115-19, 235, 243-6.
3 Ibid. pp. 254, 255.
4 Eubel, Bullarium, VOL. V, nos. 842, 857. Denifle, Chartularium, VOL. II, nos. 971, 973, 976, 979, 980, 986. J.-M. Vidal, Un Inquisiteur jugé par ses victimes. Jean Galand et les Carcassonnais, Paris 1903, pp. 28-30.
another on questions arising from the doctrines of Durand de St Pourqain. 1
At a time when Christendom was threatened by heresy, the cardinals' eyes were naturally turned towards the man whom J.-M. Vidal has justly called 'The brightest theological light of the Sacred College.'
Benedict XII did not disappoint his electors. He speedily put an end to the discussions on the beatific vision, declaring that the souls of the just, since they have no sin to expiate, 'see the divine essence by intuitive vision and even face to face' immediately after death (Constitution Benedictus Deus, 29 January 1336). 2 He then undertook to root out the abuses that abounded in the Church, by inaugurating a series of reforms dealing with the Papal court, the religious orders and the secular clergy.
'Abuses without number'--to use Benedict XII's own expression -- had found their way into the higher levels of Church administration. Officers of the papal court were shameless in their behaviour. The marshal's subordinates in particular committed the most shocking malpractices: the least of their peccadilloes consisted in extracting huge gratuities from the common people. On 13 January 1335, a Bull ordered John of Cojordan to open an enquiry without delay. Those who were implicated did not wait for the result of the judicial enquiry, of which they could only too clearly foresee the outcome, but escaped punishment by fleeing from Avignon. The investigation, indeed, proved how well-founded were the complaints that poured in from every side. On 29 June 1335, the marshal's court was issued with detailed regulations which laid down the salaries to be paid and the powers to be invested in the officials. 3 The marshal, Arnaud de Lauzières, was dismissed in 1337. 4 One of his successors was convicted of being an accessory in the kidnapping of the ambassador to England Nicolino Fieschi in 1340 and was put in prison, where, in despair, he took poison: his corpse was for long denied burial. As for the sergeants-at-arms who had taken part in the outrage, they were hanged on a beam from the windows of Nicolino's dwelling. 5
The other departments of the court were reorganised. A strict limit was placed on the field of action of the penitentiary. 6 To guard
1 J.-M. Vidal, "' Notice sur les œuvres du pape Benoît XII,"' R.H.E. VOL. VI, 1905, pp. 788-95.
2 Cocquelines, Bullarum. . . VOL. III, pt 2, pp. 213-14.
3 Theiner, Codex, VOL. II, doc. I. Regesta Vaticana, 130, fol. 6 v, 85 r ; 131, fol. 41 v.
4 Vidal, no. 4109, in the registers of Benedict XII.
5 E. Déprez, Les Préliminaires de la Guerre de Cent Ans. La Papauté, la France et l'Angleterre, Paris 1902, pp. 305-12.
6 Denifle, in Archiv, VOL. IV, 1888, pp. 209-20.
against the indiscretion of chancery employees the copying of the Pope's secret correspondence was entrusted to a college of secretaries. 1 The presentation of petitions by officers of the court had become a source of illicit gain. Consequently, Benedict XII decreed that henceforward an official should register in a special volume all petitions bearing the fiat and the signature of the Pope, and should himself bring them to the offices of the chancery. 2 In order to ensure that unworthy persons did not hold ecclesiastical honours, he compelled candidates to be subjected to an examination conducted by men of his choice, and excommunicated anyone who might try to send a substitute to this examination. Such substitutes would themselves lose their benefices, or, if they did not have any, would be declared unfit to receive them. 3 Moreover, the access of those, rich or poor, who wished to present a plea to the Holy See was facilitated by the Constitution Decens et necessarium which laid down the duties of procurators and advocates. 4
On 10 January 1335 5 bishops and ecclesiastics in possession of benefices involving a cure of souls were bidden to leave Avignon before the approaching Feast of the Purification and to observe the conditions of residence in their benefices, on pain of incurring the sanctions of canon law.
Neither Clement V nor John XXII had made any attempt to guard against nepotism; but it had no hold on Benedict. Egidio di Viterbo has attributed a saying to him which, even if not authentic, conveys exactly the strictness of his attitude: 'The Pope,' he is alleged to have said, 'must be like Melchisidek, who had neither father nor mother nor kindred.' 6 Not one of his relatives was made a cardinal. Guillaume Fournier, his nephew, was warned in a curious note from Cardinal Bernard of Albi that to come to Avignon would not put him in his uncle's favour. 'You must know,' he told him, 'that in our master natural affections have no voice.' Again, although the marriage of his niece Faiaga to the son of Arnaud, lord of Villiers was contracted at Avignon, the Pope would not allow any pomp in its solemnisation. 7
The religious orders had, in the course of the last centuries, lapsed
1 E. Göller, Mitteilungen und Untersuchungen über das päpstliche Register und Kanzleiwesen im. 14. Jahrhundert besonders unter Johann XXII und Benedikt XII, Rome 1904, pp. 42-60.
2 Baluze, Vitae, VOL. I, new edn. pp. 211, 228.
3 Cocquelines, op. cit. VOL. III, pt 2, p. 288.
4 M. Tangl, Die päpstlichen Kanzleiordnungen (1200-1500), Innsbruck 1894, pp. 118-24.
5 K. Jacob, Studien über Papst Benedikt XII, Berlin 1910, p. 42.
6 Pagi, Breviarium historico-chronologico-criticum, VOL,. IV, p. 117.
7 Vidal, no. 760I.
greatly from their original zeal; Benedict tried to re-establish the religious life in all its integrity. Knowing how prejudicial to monastic discipline was the transference of professed religious from the mendi- cant to the Benedictine and Cistercian orders, he limited this practice by insisting that permission be first obtained from the Holy See. 1
The fourteenth-century Church was caused much distress by the large number of wandering monks who had been turned out of their convents and, having no desire to go back, roamed the world in search of adventure, living as best they could at the expense of public charity. Benedict XII made every effort to cause these vagabonds to return to their monasteries. In the Constitution Pastor bonus ( 17 June 1335) he requested abbots to receive the runaways kindly and to reinstate them in their communities. If the abbot found that the behaviour of the delinquents had been too outrageous, or if their return to any particular convent was likely to cause trouble, then the Pope granted the rebel monks permission to transfer to another convent of their order on condition that they performed a fair penance. 2
The first order to attract the attention of Benedict XII was that of Cîteaux. As early as 1317-18, 3 John XXII had realised that reforms would have to be introduced, but the eloquence of Jacques de Thérines made the Pope abandon his plans. Nevertheless, as we read the ingenious speech of Thérines in support of his order, we gain the unfortunate impression that work, as recommended by the primitive rule, is almost unknown, poverty abandoned, and monastic austerity scarcely a memory. The Constitution Fulgens sicut stella 4 laid down rules for the administration of temporal matters, curbed luxurious living and prescribed that chapters and visitations should be held regularly; all Cistercian monasteries were to maintain a certain number of theological students in appointed centres of study; and young religious were forbidden on pain of the strictest penalties to study canon law which would make them eligible for benefices. Despite the objections of the order, formulated in a long and interesting indictment, 5 Benedict himself made sure that his decree was carried out, and insisted that his commissaries should see that it was strictly applied. He hunted down monks who prevaricated, thwarted any resistance, deposed abbots, brought back the wandering monks by force to their monasteries and gave the abbot of Cîteaux extraordinary powers of jurisdiction. 6
1 Cocquelines, loc. cit. p. 203.
2 Ibid. pp. 201-03.
3 N. Valois, "' Un Plaidoyer du XIVe siècle en faveur des Cisterciens,'" B.E.C. VOL. XLIX, 1908, pp. 352-68.
4 Cocquelines, loc. cit. pp. 203-13.
5 Bibliothèque nationale, MS. Latin 4191, fol. 48 r -63 r.
6 Vidal, nos. 2269, 2351, 2355, 6330, 6331, 7411, 7499 etc.
But Benedict's most famous reform was that which he imposed on the Benedictine order. After consultation with the six principal abbots of the order, those of Cluny, Chaise-Dieu, St Victor of Marseilles, Psalmody, Montolieu and Issoire, he promulgated on 20 June 1336, in agreement with his cardinals, the Bull Summi Magistri, 1 known as the 'Benedictine Bull.' The thirty-nine articles, all very long and detailed, contained in this Bull may be grouped under four principal headings: the government of the order, the monastic life, the care of temporal matters and study. Benedict's reform was especially intended to unify and centralise the order: it recommended the triennial holding of provincial chapters, a practice that had lapsed somewhat despite the objurgations of John XXII; it divided the various houses of the order into thirty-five carefully circumscribed provinces. The wisest rulings dealt with study, which the Pope wished at all costs to revive. In every establishment of any size a master was to teach grammar, logic and philosophy; no outsider was to be admitted to these lessons. After this initial instruction, one out of every twenty students was to be sent to the university to study theology, the Scriptures and canon law. Both the allowance granted to each student and the salary of the masters were carefully fixed, to avoid any argument. On 5 December 1340, 2 the Pope completed the Bull of 20 June 1336; he explained certain points of detail which had not been understood or were obscure and he defined the rules that were to govern the holding of chapters. The whole Benedictine order was affected by the Pope's reforms; in every province, by virtue of the apostolic authority, abbots summoned their chapters willy-nilly; commissaries-extraordinary curbed the luxury, extortion and debauchery which were bringing dishonour on the sons of St Benedict.
The elevation of Jacques Fournier to the papal throne had revived the hopes of the fraticelli who knew of the severity and even austerity of his personal life. Their hopes were dashed. In the Consistory of 23 December 1334 3 in the presence of the Generals of the great orders, Benedict XII severely criticised the conduct of the Franciscans. He reproached them harshly for their heretical tendencies, revolutionary spirit, contempt for the official Church and relaxation of discipline. On the other hand, he praised the purity of the Dominicans' faith and went so far as to declare that St Dominic's was the 'head' of all the other orders. This rebuke should have been enough to damp the ardour of the fraticelli; but they came to Avignon in great numbers and took the liberty of criticising the cardinals. The Bull
1 Cocquelines, loc. cit. pp. 214-40.
2 Ibid. pp. 288-91.
3 Jacob, op. cit. p. 33. Redemptor noster of 28 November 1336 1 took away their last illusions: it condemned the fraticelli and all holders of doctrines suspected of heresy; prescribed for all Franciscans constant attendance at the divine office; insisted on uniformity of dress on pain of excommunication; and decreed, amongst other things, that novices should be trained in certain houses only and not in every convent. The new Constitution was promulgated at the chapter-general held at Cahors in June 1337 with Guiral Ot, the minister-general, presiding; it was put into force and had considerable influence on the subsequent legislation of the order. 2
The Canons Regular living under the rule of St Augustine also had their share in the reforms. The Bull of 15 May 1339 3. contains lengthy regulations intended for them, modelled on those already given to the Benedictines.
The only order to oppose the will of Benedict was precisely the one whose praises he had sung most loudly, the Dominican order. The chapters-general of London, Bruges and Valence, fearing the results of the application of the Constitution Pastor bonus, had used all their ingenuity to create as many obstacles as possible to prevent 'apostate' mendicants from entering the order of St Dominic, that is to say the wandering monks who had left their convents without their superiors' permission. Benedict XII summoned the General, Hugues de Vaucemain, to appear before him at Avignon, and there urged him to leave to the Pope the business of administering the order and modifying its constitutions. Experience had proved that the observation of communal poverty was no longer practicable: begging had become less and less rewarding; the convents were reduced to bare necessities and able neither to feed their own brethren nor to maintain students at the universities. To relieve their distress, the friars made personal appeals for alms, and some were so successful in rousing the sympathy of the faithful by their appearance or their pleas, that with their well-filled begging bowls they could live a life of luxury little suited to their rule. By a strange anomaly, to quote the original remark of Father Mortier, 'Poverty remained communal and wealth became personal.' It is not difficult to realise how shocking such an unremittingly austere Cistercian as Benedict XII found this state of affairs, against which the chapters had legislated in vain. The Pope's plan was simple: to do away with communal poverty, which was not essential to the rule and had only been introduced because it was con-
1 Cocquelines, loc. cit. pp. 242-58.
2 F. Schmitt, Benoît XII et l'Ordre des Frères Mineurs (thèse de doctorat manuscrite soutenue à Strasbourg en 1956).
3 Cocquelines, loc. cit. pp. 264-86
sidered a means of attaining the apostolic life. The General, on the other hand, thought that it would be sufficient to concede partial authorisations, in accordance with the legal recommendations of Pierre de la Palud. He replied to Benedict's proposals with a firm demurrer. From that time a struggle began between the Pope and the order, which was to last for five years. The meetings for discussion were sometimes so lively that the Pope had attacks of fever, or so Galvano Fiamma alleges. When Hugues de Vaucemain died, Benedict hoped that he would at last see his views prevail; but he found that the other dignitaries of the order were just as implacably opposed to him as the late General. In vain did he hold certain friars prisoner, forbid chapter meetings, refuse to allow the election of a new General: he could not succeed in overcoming their obstinate resistance. The struggle only ended with the death of Benedict XII. 1
Although Benedict XII is especially remembered in history for the reforms he imposed on the religious orders, the secular clergy were not forgotten. It is true that they appear less frequently in the papal registers; but this is because abuses were at that time less frequent among them than in the cloister. Numerous synods were held between 1334 and 1342. 2 On 18 May 1335, Benedict revoked all grants in commendam, and, on 18 December, all expectative graces granted until his time. 3 He insisted upon residence, and settled the conditions for admission to the canonicate. 4 One of his most salutary measures was the Constitution Vas electionis, 5 in which he fixed for a long time to come the maximum rate of procurations, that is, of those pecuniary dues levied on holders of benefices by bishops and minor prelates, abbots, archdeacons, archpriests or deans, at the time of a visitation. He gave his most powerful support to education, founding a university at Grenoble and promulgating new statutes for the Faculty of Law at Montpellier; in Italy he tried to set up a university at Verona and elsewhere he often intervened on behalf of students or teachers. 6
Benedict XII seems to have been an energetic reformer. Before making any laws, he ordered enquiries and obtained the advice of competent persons. He was well informed of abuses, and in order
1 Mortier, Histoire des maîtres généraux de l'ordre des Frères-Prechêurs, VOL. III, Paris 1907, pp. 87-167. The reform introduced into the order of Fontevrault should also be noted. Cf. Daumet, nos. 22, 23, 233, 265, 505, 913; Vidal, nos. 3994, 5047, 5165, etc.
2 Hefele-Leclercq, Histoire des Conciles, VOL. VI, pp. 833-68.
3 Vidal, nos. 2447, 2454.
4 Daumet, nos. 667, 896. Vidal, no. 9149.
5 Corpus juris canonici. Extravagantes communes, Bk III, tit. x, col. 1.
6 Denifle, Die Entstehung der Universitäten des Mittelalters bis 1400, VOL. I, Berlin 1885, pp. 351, 354, 565, 634. Vidal, nos. 5122, 5123, 5166, 6265, 7416, 7435, 7438, 7539, etc.
to abolish them made decrees dealing with every minute detail. But to decree a reform is not to carry it out. We are therefore entitled to enquire whether the reforming work of Benedict XII was effective.
The 'Benedictine Bull' had the force of law until the Council of Trent. This Council also deleted from the statutes of the Dominican order the mendicancy that the Pope had sought to suppress. By compelling the friars to study theology, which had rather fallen out of favour, was he not providing the Church with those who would defend the faith against the attacks of heresy? The measures against the Spirituals and the fraticelli bore fruit; the stake reduced the fanatics to silence, for the Inquisition pursued them relentlessly. 1
Yet despite his efforts, the reformation attempted by Benedict XII only had limited results. The Pope's reign did not last long enough to ensure the success of his work. His best reforms were more or less nullified by the extreme favour shown by Clement VI who all too readily granted dispensations to the religious orders. 2 For this reason, those reforms that were not abrogated were very quickly forgotten.
Benedict XII was himself a little responsible for these set-backs, because of the minute attention given to detail in his reforms, especially in those concerned with monastic organisation. He drew up a code of laws too complicated to be really effective. He increased penal sanctions against transgressors to an absurd extent and he placed an unbearable burden upon the monks. In ordering the meeting of chapters, he did not think of the expenses that would be incurred; and unfortunately the times were hard, and poverty reigned more often than prosperity in the cloister: war, pestilence and famine were soon to take their toll of the monasteries. Although he revoked all grants in commendam, he excepted the cardinals from the Constitution. 3 Yet it was they who, because of their exalted position, were best enabled to seize benefices and, as history bears ample witness, were the most avid to seek them. Although he curbed the excessive use of expectative graces, he extended the Holy See's reservation 4 to include a greater number of benefices than his predecessors, and thus was in danger of seeing the reappearance of the very expectative graces that he was rebuking. Finally, though he declared himself to be the restorer of morals among the clergy, he was regrettably lax in
1 C. Douais, La Procédure Inquisitoriale en Languedoc au XIVe siècle d'après un Procès inédit de l'Année 1337, Paris 1900; F. Ehrle, 'Die Spiritualen, ihr Verhältniss zum Franciskanerorden und zu den Fraticellen,' Archiv, VOL. IV, 1888, pp. 1-190.
2 U. Berlière, " 'Les Chapitres Généraux de l'Ordre de St Benoît,' " Mélanges d'hist. bénédictine, VOL. IV, Maredsous 1902, pp. 161-7; Notes supplémentaires, Bruges 1905, pp. 20-1. Déprez, no. 154. 3 Vidal, nos. 2319, 2447.
4 Vidal nos. 2417, 2418, 3984, 3985, 8178.
allowing bastards to take holy orders and seek their fortune in the Church. 1
Seldom has any Pope been more abused. His contemporaries accused him of avarice, hardness of heart, obstinacy, egoism and lack of generosity in the distribution of his favours. They reproached him with showing unmerited suspicion of his cardinals, hatred towards the mendicant orders and favouritism towards inferiors, whose part he would take against their superiors. Petrarch, in descriptions of Avignon that are doubtless fanciful, depicts Benedict XII laughed to scorn by a licentious court and greeted with jeers by his own entourage. In his Epistles, the guests at sumptuous feasts mock at the Pope's abstinence. One chronicler depicts him as weak and characterless, always weeping and groaning. Peter of Hérenthals inserts in his chronicle an epigram of the day that is very uncomplimentary to the pontiff's memory:
Iste fuit Nero, laicis mors, vipera clero, Devius a veto, cuppa repleta mero. 2
Against these malicious anecdotes must be placed the accounts of other chroniclers who are full of praise for Benedict. They extol his austerity, his high-minded honesty, his sense of justice, his genius for reform, his hatred of heresy and his horror of nepotism.
It is not too difficult to disentangle the truth from such contradictory verdicts. In the first place, the evidence of Petrarch, Matthias von Neuenburg, Galvano Fiamma and the anonymous author of the eighth Life of Benedict XII edited by Baluze bears the mark of obvious prejudice. These clever men were only too pleased to feed the bitterness of the Italians, of the supporters of Louis of Bavaria and of the host of monks and parasites at the papal court who had let out cries of rage at the Pope's innovations. Benedict shared the lot of every austere reformer. He was not greatly loved; on the contrary, he was decried, hated and libelled. He died, as he had been elected, at about the hour of vespers, on 25 April 1342.
Tall, with a high colour and a resonant voice; a good theologian, skilful in canon law and a respected commentator of Scripture; 3 a man with a high sense both of duty and of justice; energetic, tenacious, determined to put down abuses; unmoved by family affection, 4
1 See e.g. Vidal, nos. 1715-2088.
2 Baluze, op. cit. p. 234. Contemporary comments have been collected by Jacob, op. cit. pp. 30-1, 154-5, and by Haller, Papsttum und Kirchenreform, VOL. I, pp. 121-3, 155.
3 Vidal, " 'Notice sur les œuvres du pape Benoît XII,'" see above, p. 28, n. 1.
4 On the family of Benedict XII, see Vidal, Note sur la parenté du pape Benoît XII, Foix 1929.
austere in his personal life, economical, and fond of restraint in art; 1 this was the real Benedict XII. As for his politics, though not as feeble as has been alleged, they lacked vision. His unbending character made him little inclined to compromise in that complicated game. As we shall see, only set-backs can be put to his account in this field.
1 Guiraud, L'Église romaine, pp. 26-7. M. Cerruti, 'Il tetto della basilica Vaticana rifatto per opera di Benedetto XII,' Mélanges, VOL. XXXV, 1915, pp. 81-118. Dr Colombe, "' Les Grands Architectes du palais des papes à Avignon,'" Bulletin archéologique, 1920, pp. 427-48. F. Pasquier, " 'Un Mirapicien, architecte du palais des papes en Avignon,'" Bulletin périodique de la Société ariégeoise des sciences, lettres et arts, VOL. XVI, 1923, pp. 54-6.
Clement VI (1342-52)
As soon as Philip VI received news of the death of Benedict XII, which had occurred on 25 April, he sent his eldest son to Avignon, charged, so certain chroniclers allege, with supporting the candidature of Pierre Roger, archbishop of Rouen. The duke of Normandy arrived too late to carry out his commission. The cardinals had gone into conclave on 3 May and had voted unanimously for Pierre Roger; according to Annibale di Ceccano and Raimond de Farges in their letters to Edward III, the election had been made on 7 May, 'by divine inspiration alone.' 1
The choice made by the Sacred College was excellent in many respects. The archbishop of Rouen 2 had acquired a well-deserved reputation as an able theologian and was considered one of the finest orators of his day. At the assembly of Vincennes in 1329, his eloquent defence of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, which had been violently attacked by Pierre de Cugnières, made a favourable and lively impression on Philip VI. Favoured by Philip, who counted him among his councillors, and also by Edward III, whose subject he was by birth, this prelate seemed the very man to prevent a disastrous war between France and England.
The cardinals, however, had had other reasons for their choice. They were weary of the rigid, austere, autocratic government of Benedict XII, and had considered the opposite qualities that characterised Pierre Roger--his urbanity and gentleness, his pliant temperament and aristocratic airs. They hoped that under him they would enjoy a tolerant, easy-going and bountiful régime.
____________________ 1 Rymer, Foedera, VOL. II, pt 2, p. 123.
2 The various stages in Clement VI's career are as follows: he was born in 1291 at Masmonteil, near Egletons (Corrèze), of Guillaume Roger, lord of Rosières, and Guillemette de Mestre; he entered the Benedictine monastery of Chaise-Dieu in 1301, and made his profession there. By special favour, John XXII conferred on him the mastership and the licenciate in theology on 23 May 1323. He was appointed prior of St Pantaléon (Corrèze) in 1321, and became prior of Savigny in the diocese of Lyons, prior of St Baudil in the diocese of Nîmes ( 24 April 1324), abbot of Fécamp ( 23 June 1326), bishop of Arras ( 3 Dec. 1328), archbishop of Sens ( 24 Nov. 1329), archbishop of Rouen ( 14 Dec. 1330) and cardinal-priest of St Neraeus and Achilleus ( 18 Dec. 1338). See Denifle and Chatelain, Chartularium universitatis Parisiensis, VOL. II, Paris 1891, p. 272.
Poor clerics seeking benefices, who had been driven from Avignon in the previous pontificate, felt their hopes rising anew. As Pentecost drew near, they were invited to present their pleas during the following two months. As may be expected, the call was quickly heard: a tidal wave of petitioners--a hundred thousand according to an eyewitness, the chronicler Peter of Hérenthals 1 --came flooding into Avignon. In order to distribute expectative graces generously among them, Clement VI had to abuse his right of reservation of benefices, to the great detriment of those conferring them in the ordinary way. Indeed, bishops were reduced to begging for the authorisation to confer benefices in their own dioceses. Such a one was the bishop of Geneva, who 'can no longer confer a single benefice because of the great number of those who put themselves forward armed with apostolic expectatives.' 2 It is significant that in this instance the Pope confessed that he was himself overwhelmed with demands; he apologised, but granted the bishop only a limited permission. The repetition of similar incidents soon produced disquiet in the Church, characterised by a weakening of the power of the bishops and slackness in ecclesiastical discipline. It showed, too, how far the centralisation of the Church had increased. In 1344 Clement VI proclaimed that 'plenary powers of disposal of all churches, dignities, offices and ecclesiastical benefices are vested in the Roman pontiff.' 3 Careerists saw only too clearly the logical conclusion of this: since everything depended on the sovereign will of the Pope, the surest way for them to acquire office in the Church was to seek their fortune at the court of Avignon and to gain favour with powerful protectors.
Clement VI was accustomed to live like a lord, and had modelled his conduct upon an emperor's maxim that 'No-one should go out from the prince's presence discontented,' and another saying that 'A pontiff should make his subjects happy.' 4 If he was reproached for his generosity, he used to say, 'My predecessors did not know how to be Popes.' 5 These principles led him into dangerous ways beginning with the squandering of the wealth amassed by the parsimonious Benedict XII. The completion of the papal palace, the reconstruction of the abbey of Chaise-Dieu 6 at a cost of about 30,000 florins, the purchase of Avignon in 1348 at the stipulated price of 80,000 florins, 7 the upkeep of a luxurious court, and considerable loans to successive
1 Baluze, Vitae, VOL. I, new ed. pp. 276, 298.
2 Gräff, "' Clément VI et la Province de Vienne,'" Bulletin de l'Académie Delphinale, set. 5, VOL. II, 1908, p. 100.
3 Rinaldi, ad annum 1344, §55.
4 Baluze, op. cit. p. 275.
5 Ibid. p. 298.
6 Faucon, Documents, p. 4 . 7 J.-B. Christophe, Histoire de la Papauté pendant le XIVe Siècle, Paris 1853, VOL. II, pp. 467-71.
kings of France and the lords of southern France 1 -- all these depleted the finances of the Holy See. By an unfortunate coincidence, the deficit occurred at a time when the revolt of the citizens of Bologna, the activities of Bernabo Visconti and the insurrection of the Papal States all called for vigorous intervention in Italy. Clement sought to remedy the disaster by bringing pressure to bear on the French clergy, who were already sorely tried by the Hundred Years' War. The income from taxes levied on Christendom was not sufficient to restore the balance of the papal budget. The deficit caused by Clement's imprudence was never restored in his lifetime, and the future, too, was burdened with very heavy charges. Innocent VI, Urban V and Gregory XI all groaned under the appalling financial situation they had inherited. The financial measures that they were obliged to take caused estrangement from their subjects: nearly all the responsibility for this rests with the extravagant Clement.
Apart from a few members of the clergy, his contemporaries did not find fault with his ostentatious way of life; indeed, so generous a Pope seems to have been much admired. His court was the most civilised in Europe, the haunt of the highest nobility, enlivened with feasts, balls and tournaments. The finest figures of the time were to be found there: painters from Italy and Germany, French sculptors and architects, poets and men of letters, physicians, doctors and astronomers. A commission of scholars met in 1344 to try to reform the Julian Calendar. Jean des Murs and Firmin de Beauval (or d'Amiens), had come to Avignon. Long discussions took place and memoranda were prepared: special attention was paid to the Golden Number. Although the commission broke up without having found any practical means of rectifying the errors in the Calendar the initiative that had set it up was most praiseworthy. 2
The festivities for which his court provided the setting did not make Clement VI unmindful of his duties as pontiff. He took pleasure in presiding at religious ceremonies, in preaching to his people and making speeches in memorable circumstances. His charity was boundless when the Black Death depopulated Europe in 1348 and again in 1349. This sickness had come from China by three different routes: by India, the Caspian Sea and Asia Minor; by Bokhara, Tartary and Constantinople; and by Baghdad, Arabia, Egypt and
1 592,000 florins and 5,000 crowns were advanced to the king of France between 26 November 1345 and the end of February 1350 ( M. Faucon, in B.E.C. VOL. XL, 1879, p. 571). The count of Comminges borrowed 32,000 florins ( A. Clergeac in Revue de Gascogne, VOL. V, 1905, p. 308).
2 E. Déprez, "' Une Tentative de réforme du calendrier sous Clément VI . . . ,'" Mélanges, VOL. XIX, 1899, pp. 131-43.
Africa. It was introduced into Italy by vessels which had put into the islands of the Archipelago; it devastated Florence, crossed the Alps, attacked France and gained a hold in Belgium, Holland, England, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, and as far as Iceland and Greenland. It is estimated that about forty million people died in this horrible epidemic.
Avignon suffered greatly from the Black Death. Our information concerning this critical time is derived from the memoirs of Guy de Chauliac, physician in the service of Clement VI. The sickness ravaged the town for seven months and manifested itself successively in two characteristic forms. The first showed itself in a persistent fever, accompanied by the spitting of blood: 'Men died of it in three days.' This form was particularly prevalent in the first two months and proved highly infectious. The other form which succeeded it, also caused fever, but was accompanied by 'abscesses and carbuncles in the external parts, chiefly in the arm-pit and groin; and men died of it in five days.' 1 On 27 April 1348, Louis Sanctus of Beeringen, Petrarch's beloved friend, wrote to his correspondents at Bruges that more than half the population of Avignon had died, and that more than seven thousand houses were shut up. In the cemetery bought by the Pope, eleven thousand dead were buried between 14 March and 27 April. Since 25 January death had claimed a total of sixty-two thousand inhabitants. 2 Guy de Chauliac agrees with Louis Sanctus in his description of the wretched conditions in which the people of Avignon died. 'The people died without servants and were buried without priests. The father visited not his son, nor the son his father. Charity was dead, and hope cast down.' 3 The contagion was so much dreaded that the population was crazed by fear. As Boccaccio wrote, 'Men were infected by touching the sick, but it was not necessary even to touch them. The danger was the same if one were within range of their words or only cast one's eye upon them.' 4
Clement VI remained at Avignon and was lavish in the distribution of benefits. He engaged doctors to care for the sick; carters and grave-diggers in his employ carried off the dead and buried them. Severe police measures prevented the infection from spreading further. Special indulgences encouraged the priests and the faithful to devote themselves to the service of those stricken by the plague. 5 The Pope also instituted a special mass to implore an ending to the scourge. 6
1 E. Nicaise, La Grande Chirurgie de Guy de Chauliac, Paris 1890, p. 170. 2 De Smet, Recueil des chroniques de Flandre, VOL. III, Brussels 1856, pp. 14-18.
3 Nicaise, op. cit. p. 170.
4 Decameron, Bk I.
5 Baluze, op. cit. pp. 251, 284.
6 J. Viard, "' La Messe pour la peste,'" B.E.C. VOL. LXI, 1900, pp. 334-8.
People's minds were stricken with terror and very soon began to go astray: they attributed the plague to the sorcery of the Jews and accused them, as they had done in 1321, of poisoning the wells and springs where Christians drew their water. A dreadful persecution broke out against them. Popular fury handed them over to the stake in thousands, at Strasbourg, Mainz, Speyer, Worms, Oppenheim and many other places. Clement VI was perturbed, and took the Jews under his protection, declaring that anyone molesting them would be excommunicated ( 4 July and 26 September 1348). 1 What is more, those fleeing from persecution found a kindly welcome in his territories. 2
In the hope of appeasing the divine wrath, bands of fanatics formed in Swabia, claiming that they could bring about the cessation of the pestilence by flagellations lasting for thirty-three and a half days. At the end of this time, the soul was judged to be cleansed of its impurity and to be once more in a state of baptismal innocence. This popular movement, developed by ill-informed piety, spread rapidly from the month of June 1349. Germanywas overrun by bands of flagellantes. These fanatics, stripped of their garments to the waist, prostrated themselves in turn, face downwards with their arms stretched out in the form of a cross, while their companions walked round them in a circle. At a word of command, using whips whose thongs were provided with four iron spikes, they lacerated their bodies till they drew blood. After this, they all prostrated themselves on the ground in the form of a cross, saying strange prayers, sobbing and imploring divine mercy to come down upon the world. Then at another signal the flaggellations began again.
These fanatics were scarcely dangerous at first, but eventually became a public menace. Their blind zeal led them to acts of pillage and to persecution of the Jews; they threatened ecclesiastical property, shook off the authority of the Church and despised the ordinary means of salvation. When they reached Avignon, Clement VI, frightened at the revolutionary movement they were provoking, solemnly condemned them and ordered bishops and princes to dissolve existing associations and to imprison those who were recalcitrant ( 20 October 1349). 3 Most of the flagellants dispersed and were reconciled with the Church; those who persisted in their error died at the stake or languished in prison cells.
In the political field Clement VI showed qualities of the first order.
1 Rinaldi, ad annum 1348, §33.
2 L. Bardinet, " 'La Condition Civile des Juifs du Comtat-Venaissin Pendant le Séjour des Papes d'Avignon (1309-1376)",' Revue historique, VOL. XII, 1880, pp. 18-23.
3 Rinaldi, ad annum 1349, §18-22.
The Hundred Years' War had compelled Benedict XII to abandon the dream long cherished by John XXII, of sending the French royal house to conquer the East. Clement made no attempt to take it up again, but this did not cause him to abandon the idea of a crusade. He evolved a bold plan by deciding to form a naval league between the Latin peoples of the East and the Venetians, against the Turkish corsairs which were infesting the Archipelago. He then proposed to take advantage of the weakness of the Greeks and Armenians to lead them to seek the alliance of the Latin league and to abandon their schism. The first part of this vast plan was begun. After laborious negotiations in the course of which Clement VI showed his qualities of patience and cunning, a league was made between the Papacy, the Venetians, the king of Cyprus and the Knights Hospitallers. The capture of Smyrna on 28 October 1344 and the victory at Imbros in 1347 swept the Turkish corsairs from the Archipelago. The attempts at reunion with the schismatics were on the point of succeeding. Unfortunately, however, Clement VI did not succeed in carrying out the whole of his programme; the fault is not his, but must be attributed to the rivalry between the peoples of Genoa and Venice, as well as to the incompetence and indecision of the dauphin of Vienne. 1
The fine qualities of diplomacy that Clement VI had thus displayed in the East were equally in evidence in the West. It was owing to his efforts that the war between France and England was broken off several times. The quarrel that had for so long caused disunion between the Papacy and the Empire came to an end soon after the death of Louis of Bavaria.
The Pope died at Avignon on Thursday, 6 December 1352. Though he had suffered for some years from gravel, his death was caused by the rupture of an internal growth. He did not therefore meet his end as a result of a shameful disease brought on by the dissolute life that Matteo Villani, Matthias von Neuenburg and the monk of Melsa 2 gratuitously accuse him of having led.
A somewhat embarrassing account of Clement VI has, however, come down to us: that of Petrarch. 'I speak,' he says, 'of things seen, not merely heard.' 3 He attributed the most lascivious remarks to the Pope which, if they were really made, would leave no doubt as to his illicit love-affairs. Some time ago Bartoli and later Piur made extracts of numerous passages in the works of Petrarch which form an over-
1 Gay, Le Pape Clément VI et les affaires d'Orient (1342-1352), Paris 1904.
2 Matteo Villani, Istorie fiorentine, Bk II, ch. iv; Böhmer, Fontes, VOL. IV, p. 227; Chronicon de Melsa, VOL. III, p. 89.
3 Epistle XIV (no title), in opera onmia, Basle edition, 1581, p. 723.
whelming indictment of the morals of Clement VI. 1 In 1905, Douet used the same texts as sources for an historical novel, Au temps de Pétrarque, depicting the loose morals of the Supreme Pontiff and the vices of his chamberlains.
However positive Petrarch may be in his statements, he was not really in a position to censure the Pope's conduct. His accusations must be considered unjust and unlikely. His avowed antagonism towards the Avignon Popes provides the historian with a cogent reason for doubting the truth of his unsavoury anecdotes. In Clement VI he hated one who had been able to shed an unrivalled lustre on the Avignon Papacy. He was so blinded by his hatred as to be unable to form a rational judgment of the leaders of the Church. As has been said, 2 'The only people likely to believe him are those actuated by hatred of the Papacy.'
Petrarch's conduct, moreover, seems incompatible with the feelings he expressed on the subject of the Avignon Popes. If he despised them, why did he seek their favours? Why did he remain at a court whose morals caused him such horror? He ought logically to have fled from it.
Petrarch, indeed, seems to take pleasure in providing us with the means to attack him. He has written concerning Clement VI, of whom he spoke so ill: 'Clemens VI, egregius nunc Romulei gregis pastor, tam potentis et invictae memoriae traditur ut quidquid vel semel legerit oblivisci, etiam si cupiat, non possit. . . .' 3 We may well be surprised at such language. If Clement VI was really given up to immorality, as the Florentine poet alleges, he could not have been 'egregius . . . pastor.'
1 Bartoli, Storia della letteratura italiana, VOL. VII, Florence 1884, pp. 85-123; P. Piur, Petrarchas Buch ohne Namen und die päpstliche Kurie, Halle 1925.
2 R. Delachenal, Histoire de Charles V, VOL. III, Paris 1916, p. 494.
3 De rebus memorabilibus, Bk II, ch. i.
Innocent VI (1352-62)
ON 16 December 1352, the cardinals, twenty-five in number, withdrew to the rooms placed at their disposal in the papal palace at Avignon. They were anxious to take advantage of the modifications that Clement VI had made to the Constitution Ubi periculum which had regulated the holding of conclaves since 1274. They had curtains round their beds while they rested, and two members of their household, clerk or layman, to attend upon them. Their bill of fare was henceforward to include, at dinner and supper, as well as bread and wine, a dish of meat, fish or eggs, meat or vegetable soup, horsd'œuvre, cheese, fruit and electuaries. 1 The Sacred College did not benefit from these concessions: on Tuesday 18 December at the hour of terce, Étienne Aubert was proclaimed Pope, with the name of Innocent VI.
The election had not been uneventful. The candidature of Jean Birel, a native of Limoges, had been much discussed. Though venerated for his holiness, this worthy General of the Carthusians was not a suitable man to rule the Church; to choose him would have been to repeat the mistake made by the conclave in 1294 in electing Celestine V. Cardinal Talleyrand de Périgord succeeded in convincing his colleagues that in the critical circumstances prevailing in Europe, it would be unwise, if not actually dangerous, to appoint a second Pietro da Morrone as Pope. This seemed sound advice and was accepted by the conclave. 2
The Sacred College, yielding to oligarchic tendencies, and wishing perhaps to restrict papal power which was becoming more extensive every day, seized the opportunity of the conclave to work out a compromise. This compromise some of the members swore merely to observe, while others prudently inserted into their oath the following restrictive clause: si et in quantum scriptura hujusmodi de jure procederet. It was agreed that in no case should the number of cardinals
1 Cocquelines, Bullarum, VOL. III, pt 2, p. 313; Constitution Licet in constitutione, 6 December 1351.
2 Martène and Durand, Veterum scriptorum, VOL. VI, Paris 1729, p. 187. Souchon ( Die Papstwahlen, pp. 55-66) has indicated that the speech attributed to Talleyrand de Périgord during the conclave is unlikely to have been delivered.
be more than twenty. The future Pope undertook not to create any more until the present number had been reduced to sixteen. Cardinals were only to be chosen by the consent of all the survivors, or at least by a two-thirds majority. No cardinal was to be deposed or imprisoned without the unanimous approval of the Sacred College. A two-thirds majority would be sufficient to pronounce sentence of excommunication or ecclesiastical censure against him, to suspend his right to vote in a Papal election, to take part in Consistories and to wear a red hat, to decree his temporary or permanent loss of benefices and seizure of goods before or after death. The same majority would be required to transfer, surrender or grant in fee-tail or for payment of rent the provinces, towns, fortified castles and lands belonging to the Roman Church; likewise, to appoint or dismiss the high officers of the court and of the Papal States. The offices of the marshal of the court and the rectors of the Church provinces were not to pass into the hands of a relative or ally of the reigning Pontiff. The approval of the Sacred College was to be necessary to levy tenths or subsidies from kings or princes, or to deduct taxes from the clergy for the benefit of the Apostolic Camera. The latter was to hand over half its revenues to the treasury of the College in accordance with the terms of the regulation made in 1289 by Nicholas IV. Lastly, the cardinals were to be entirely free to express their opinions and to give their approval in the conduct of affairs. 1
The conclave might have gone on for longer, had they not feared that the king of France might interfere in the election. Accordingly agreement was quickly reached on the person of the Limousin Étienne Aubert, a native of the village of Les Monts, near Pompadour. He was a lawyer of note, renowned for his teaching at the University of Toulouse. He was known to have the approval of the king of France, in whose name he had carried out the important duties of the juge-mage of the seneschal's court of Toulouse. He had been bishop of Noyon ( 23 January 1338) and Clermont ( 11 October 1340), and was elevated to the dignity of cardinal with the title of St John and St Paul on 20 September 1342, becoming bishop of Ostia and Villetri on 13 February 1352, and finally Grand Penitentiary.
The new Pope was advanced in years, of a sickly disposition 2 and a rather wavering and impressionable personality, easily depressed, 3 and of a somewhat vacillating character. No doubt the Sacred College hoped to mould him easily to its wishes. This hope, however, was
1 Cocquelines, op. cit. VOL. III, pt 2, pp. 316-18; Constitution Sollicitudo pastoralis, annulling the general sense of the compromise.
2 His health caused anxiety at the French court from the time of his accession. See E. Déprez, Innocent VI, no. 4.
3 Studi storici, VOL. XII, 1903, p. 331.
disappointed. On 6 July 1353 Innocent freed himself from the oath he had made to the conclave. He declared the oath null as being contrary to the Decretals of Gregory X and Clement V, which had forbidden the cardinals to deal with any other business except the election while the Holy See was vacant. 1 He did, however, grant the cardinals a slight compensation by allowing them to reserve certain dignities in both cathedrals and collegiate churches, secular and regular. 2
Innocent VI was upright, just and animated by the best intentions; he upheld the traditions of Benedict XII and adopted salutary measures of reform. The clergy who had been drawn to Avignon by Clement VI's generosity soon took themselves off for fear of incurring excommunication for not residing in their benefices. 3 No-one could obtain an ecclesiastical charge without supplying real evidence of learning and merit. Those who were affected complained. 'This same Pope Innocent,' one chronicler declares, 'was harsh to the clerks, and it was for this that learning was in great wise diminished at Paris and elsewhere in his time, for he wished to grant no benefices to the clerks or to those who deserved them.' 4
Scholarship was dear to this former professor of law. Innocent founded the college of St Martial at Toulouse and a Faculty of Theology at Bologna. 5
The Pope exercised his reforming zeal on various religious orders. His relations with the Franciscans in particular were very stormy. We can follow their course in the language used by St Bridget in speaking of Innocent VI. At first she had been full of enthusiasm at the election of this pontiff. 'Pope Innocent,' she wrote, 'is of sounder metal than his predecessors, and of a substance fit to receive the finest colours.' But as he began to take progressively more severe measures against the Spirituals and the fraticelli, the Swedish princess's writings show a diminution of praise, which gives place to bitter criticism. Even the death of the Pope does not mollify her: 'Pope Innocent,' she says at this time, 'has been more abominable than the Jewish usurers, more treacherous than Judas, more cruel than Pilate; he has devoured the sheep and slain the true shepherds; and now at last, for all his crimes (Christ) has cast him into the pit, like a heavy stone, and has condemned his cardinals to be consumed by the same fire that devoured Sodom.' 6
1 See p. 9, n. I above.
2 E. Déprez, Innocent VI, no. 267.
3 Baluze, Vitae, VOL. I, new ed. pp. 343, 347.
4 Annuaire-Bulletin, VOL. XX, 1883, p. 255.
5 Fournier, Les Statuts et privilèges des universités françaises, VOL. I, Paris 1890, nos. 612-55.
Cocquelines, Bullarum, VOL. III, pt 2, p. 323.
6 Revelationes, Bk IV, ch. cxxxvi.
Indeed, on every hand the Inquisition was set in motion against the fanatical Franciscans, and tracked them down without mercy. At Avignon two friars died at the stake. Jean de Roquetaillade, another Franciscan from the convent of Aurillac, who had been incarcerated in the papal prison in the time of Clement VI, prophesied like a true disciple of Joachim of Flora. He recounted his prophetic visions and apocalyptic dreams in a book, the Vade mecum in tribulatione, and proclaimed a kind of modified millenarianism. 1 Falling into the error of the Spirituals, he virulently castigated the morals of the clergy and foretold that they would lose their property. 2 Innocent did no more than order this visionary to be put into confinement.
The Franciscans had not forgotten, either, that in the Consistory of 8 November 1357 the Pope had listened to the archbishop of Armagh, Richard Fitz-Ralph, fulminating in the name of the clergy of Britain against the mendicant orders, attacking their privileges, and objecting to their encroachment on curial rights. Innocent, as it happened, made no pronouncement on the matter; he ordered both the archbishop and the mendicants, who had hastened to defend their cause, to be silent, and had the case examined by a commission of cardinals. The storm that threatened the English Franciscans only abated with the death of their spirited adversary. The chronicler spitefully adds that on the day that Richard Fitz-Ralph died the monks sang Gaudeamus rather than Requiem. 3
Towards the middle of the fourteenth century the Dominicans had fallen into complete decadence. In an effort to increase the numbers in the convents decimated by the Black Death, local priors had encouraged the recruitment of novices by mitigating on their own authority the austerity of the rule. Poverty was no longer observed, and continual breaches of discipline had spread a spirit of insubordination among the members of the order. No longer able to enforce discipline and at the end of his tether, the General, Simon de Langres, had recourse to the Holy See. In 1360 Bulls were issued ordering the definitors of the chapter of Perpignan to visit the various houses of the order and to compel the friars, under pain of censure, to reveal existing abuses. Friars who boasted of their title of honorary chaplain to the Pope in order to claim exemption from the jurisdiction of their superiors and to elude the observance of the rule,
1 E. Brown, Fasciculus rerum expetendarum et fugiendarum, VOL. II, London 1690, PP. 494-508.
2 F. Kampers, in Historisches. Jahrbuch, VOL. XV, 1894, pp. 796-802.
3 Baluze, op. cit. pp. 324, 337. In 1357, the archbishop of Armagh wrote a Defensorium curatorurn contra eos qui privilegiatos se dicunt. See E. Brown, op. cit. VOL. II, pp. 466-86.
were told that the honours they enjoyed gave them no privileges, and that if they were recalcitrant, they ran the risk of imprisonment.
Infuriated by the reforms that Simon de Langres sought to impose on them with the help of the Papacy, eight out of the fourteen definitors deposed him. When Innocent VI learned of this, he put Cardinal Francesco degli Atti in charge of an enquiry. On 22 June 1361, he reinstated Simon de Langres in his office and promised him support for his reform. 1
The Pope's relations with the Hospitallers were equally difficult. There had already long existed a strong party at the Papal Court that was very hostile to the Knights. They were upbraided for their slackness and lack of zeal against the infidel, for their luxury and their illused wealth. In 1343 Clement VI had threatened the Grand Master, Hélion de Villeneuve, that he would transfer the property of the Hospitallers to a new, more active and zealous order. On 24 August 1354, Innocent, who shared the prejudices of his entourage, warned the Grand Master, Pierre de Corneillan, to expect the arrival of a mission led by the Knight Juan Fernandez de Heredia, and instructed the nuncios to set forth the complaints of the Holy See against the order and the measures decreed for its improvement. The transfer of the convent at Rhodes to Turkish territory was to take place without delay, otherwise the Templars' property, previously added to that of the Hospitallers, would be handed over to a new order. On his own authority, the Pope summoned a chapter-general to meet at Avignon. It accepted all that was imposed on it, including very severe disciplinary reforms, the suppression of the office of regional commander, and considerable restrictions on the Grand Master's prerogative.
But Innocent changed his mind. Under the pressure of Heredia, whose ambition it was to become Master, the Pope gave up his plan of transferring the headquarters of the Hospitallers to Turkey and had some idea of causing the Knights to buy the Principality of Achaia. What was more, in order to overcome any opposition, he endowed the adventurer Heredia with the priory of St Gilles. Roger de Pins, the Grand Master, sent ambassadors to Avignon to present respectful objections to this appointment. The Supreme Pontiff paid no attention. It was only the opposition of Robert II of Taranto, titular emperor of Constantinople, to the transfer of the order to Achaia that compelled Innocent to give up his other plans as well.
Although the reforms that the Pope sought to impose upon the Hospitallers were for the most part wise and well-conceived, his un-
1 Mortier, Histoire des Maîtres Généraux, VOL. III, pp. 295-442.
limited confidence in Juan de Heredia could not but compromise their success. This knight had stirred up dangerous sedition within the order by his ambition and insubordination. In raising him to one of the highest offices in the order, Innocent was making a great mistake and giving rise to the belief that he was incapable of seeing through a well-hatched plot. 1
The attacks made by lovers of poverty on the luxury of the court at Avignon were not all justified. Innocent VI strove to reduce his household and dismissed the parasites who were cluttering it. The cardinals, too, reduced their expenditure. As it happened they were all bowing to necessity as much as to a real desire for reform: the coffers of the papal treasury were empty, and in 1357 Innocent was complaining of poverty. His distress was quite genuine: on 5 November 1358 he was driven to sacrifice much of his silver and a great quantity of jewels and precious ornaments. He was reduced to extreme penury: works of art were sold for their weight in gold or silver without any account of the value of their craftsmanship. 2
These financial troubles, brought on by the costly wars in Italy, were not the only ones to cause Innocent VI anxiety. The truce of Bordeaux on 23 March 1357 had led to the disbanding of the mercenary troops used by England against France, who now formed themselves into 'Companies.' France was overrun with soldiers who looted everything as they went, set fire to castles and villages, ransacked churches and monasteries and killed many nobles and country folk. The Pope tried to put an end to this scourge by pronouncing an anathema against the Companies; but the Church's thunderbolts were of little avail against men without faith, whose only delight was in pillage, murder and arson.
Suddenly, in May 1357, Avignon was seized with fear. Gangs under the command of the notorious archpriest of Vélines, Arnaud de Cervole, were preparing to invade Provence. In vain did Innocent beseech the French government and neighbouring princes to keep their armed forces from joining the invaders. Wherever he turned, he received only fair words. Provence was invaded. At this news, the gates of Avignon were repaired in great haste on 6 July, look-outs kept a watch on the enemy's movements, and troops of cavalry and infantry guarded the city walls. Strong-points in the ComtatVenaissin were put in a state of defence, and with the help of financial contributions from courtiers and inhabitants of Avignon the work of fortifying the town was begun and ramparts energetically constructed.
1 Delaville le Roulx, Les Hospitaliers à Rhodes, Paris 1913, VOL I, pp. 116-39.
2 M. Faucon, in Revue archéologique, VOL. XLIII, 1882, pp. 217-25.
By the spring of 1358 the inhabitants of Avignon felt a temporary lessening of their anxiety. As there was nothing left to pillage in Provence, Arnaud de Cervole enrolled under the banner of the Dauphin and went off to fight against Étienne Marcel and the citizens of Paris in June and July. But as soon as the riots in Paris had been quelled, he appeared again in Provence, and was obviously determined to exact a high price for peace. Innocent VI agreed to act as arbiter between the bandit and the people of Provence. After insisting on the payment of an indemnity of 1,000 florins by the Holy See, the Archpriest Arnaud withdrew and by 29 September was in the Nivernais. 1
The signing of the treaty of Brétigny on 8 May 1360 which ought to have brought peace to France, in fact became a source of further misfortunes. The mercenaries who had been dismissed and were now idle, reorganised themselves into Companies even more formidable than those of 1357. It is true that they were only soldiers of fortune; but they were seasoned professional troops, disciplined and skilful, and above all avid for booty. The gangs who were roaming the countryside of Beaucaire, having learned that a considerable sum of money would be taken to Pont St Esprit, on the left bank of the Rhône, seized that town during the night of 28-9 December. This news caused consternation to Innocent VI: the capture of Pont St Esprit cut off Avignon from the outside world and gave the enemy a favourable point from which to rob at their pleasure prelates, clergy and layfolk on their way to the Curia with well-lined purses.
Innocent VI's terror spread to the people of Avignon. As the ramparts were not complete, they hastily built wooden barricades, while armed patrols in the Pope's pay kept watch on the approaches to the city, and artillery was placed on the ramparts. Innocent made use, too, of the spiritual armour of the Church and preached a real crusade. His appeal was heard, and help arrived from Aragon, Languedoc, Beaucaire, Gevaudan, Velay and Vivarais. Juan Fernandez de Heredia, the valiant castellan of Emposte, assumed command of the crusaders and besieged Pont St Esprit. Unfortunately he had neither money to pay his troops nor supplies to feed them. For their part, the besieged were hard-pressed and had just cause for alarm. Both sides were glad to come to an agreement which was in fact concluded towards the end of March 1361. In return for a payment of 14,500 gold florins, the Companies set off to fight in Italy
1 H. Denifle, La Désolation des églises, monastères et hôpitaux en France pendant la guerre de Cent Ans, VOL. II, Paris 1899, pp. 188-211.
under the command of the marquis of Montferrat. 1
The population of the Comtat-Venaissin and the neighbouring districts, alarmed by the presence of mercenaries on the banks of the Rhône, had sought refuge in Avignon. There they found appalling suffering and death. Famine and then plague wrought dreadful havoc: between 29 March and 25 July the epidemic accounted for seventeen thousand people, including nine cardinals. 2
As well as acute anxiety over his own safety, Innocent had to endure bitter disappointments arising from his inept diplomacy. Although he nobly spent his life in preaching reconciliation and the re-establishment of peace in the world he saw war, discord and crime flourish on every side. Ingenuous and lacking in perspicacity, he was deceived by the kings of France, England, Navarre, Castile and Aragon, and by Bernabo Visconti. Overcome with grief, depressed by the turn of events, and worn out in spirit, Innocent VI went into a rapid decline. He died on 12 September 1362, asking that his remains should be buried in the Charterhouse at Villeneuve that he had founded in 1356 and where, amid all the upheavals of his life, he had enjoyed in the course of his reign a few hours of peace and quiet.
1 Denifle, op. cit. pp. 385-98.
2 E. Nicaise, La Grande Chirurgie de Guy de Chauliac, Paris 1890, p. 169. Baluze, op. cit. VOL. 1, pp. 327, 340: VOL II, p. 490.
Urban V (1362-70)
THE pontificates of Clement VI and Innocent VI had each in turn had the effect of concentrating a Limousin party at the court of Avignon. Naturally this party's one ambition was to keep for as long as possible the advantages they had hitherto enjoyed, and their chief interest was to support the candidature of one of their number for the triple crown. On the other hand, the personal ambition of Cardinal Guy de Boulogne and of Cardinal Talleyrand de Périgord prevented any unity from developing among those who did not belong to this party. The conclave, which began on 22 September 1362, threatened to be a restless and stormy one. Some of the cardinals, not knowing which party to join, thought they would delay the election by voting without consulting each other and so wasting their votes. The votes thus made without any previous agreement were all for Hugues Roger, the brother of the late Pope Clement VI. To the surprise of everyone, when the result of the ballot was announced, Hugues Roger was found to have been elected by fifteen votes out of twenty.
This election displeased everyone, but their anxiety disappeared when, through humility and fear of the burden placed upon him, Hugues made it clear that he refused to accept office. The cardinals, determined to be prudent after this mishap, distributed their votes so carefully that it seemed impossible to agree on the name of any one among them. Consequently the only course that remained was to choose a prelate from outside the Sacred College. On 28 September, Guillaume de Grimoard, abbot of St Victor of Marseilles and at that time nuncio in the kingdom of Naples, was unanimously elected. 1
1 See Matteo Villani, Istoria fiorentine, Bk XI, ch. xxvi; Baluze, Vitae, VOL. II, p. 356. Guillaume was born in 1310 at the castle of Grisac (Lozère), the son of Guillaume de Grimoard, lord of Grisac, Bédouès, Bellegarde, Montbel and Grasvillar, and of Amphélise de Montferrand. He received the tonsure at the age of twelve and went to study at Montpellier and Toulouse. After qualifying in civil law, he entered the Benedictine priory at Chirac. He was professed at the abbey of St Victor at Marseilles, then returned to Chirac and attended lectures at the Universities of Toulouse, Montpellier, Avignon and Paris. He received his doctorate on 31 October 1342 and taught canon law in various universities. His success attracted attention and earned him the charge of vicar-general to Pierre d'Aigrefeuille at Clermont and Uzès, and the titles of abbot of St Germain of Auxerre on 13 February 1352 and of St Victor of Marseilles on 2 August 1361, as well as several legations in Italy, in 1352, 1354, 1360 and 1362.
Messengers left for Italy with the utmost secrecy, with instructions to bring Guillaume back without delay. As soon as he received their message, the abbot of St Victor obeyed and set sail. He landed at Marseilles on 27 October, reached Avignon on the 31st and was enthroned on the same day. 1
The coronation ceremony took place on 6 November without any of the customary pomp. Instead of riding through the streets of Avignon escorted by a brilliant procession of cardinals, princes and bishops, Urban V never left his palace. 2 Thus at the very beginning of his pontificate he demonstrated his horror of luxury and ostentation. On the throne of St Peter, he led the life of a monk faithfully carrying out the smallest details of his rule. He could never bring himself to leave off his monastic habit.
His day was extremely arduous. Having a very sensitive conscience, Urban made his confession before saying Mass, and would remain kneeling for a long time in the same place where he had acknowledged his sins, pouring out his soul in fervent prayer, reciting psalms or imploring God in his mercy to forgive him.
After reciting his office, the Pope held audience and dealt with dayto-day affairs until his mid-day meal. He ate frugally, fasting every day in Advent and Lent and two or three times a week at other seasons. As he ate, he conversed amiably with his familiars, and made anxious enquiries about the health of people at court, or ordered help to be given to the needy.
Half an hour was given over to rest; then Urban would sign petitions, deal with his correspondence and spend some time in study. The catalogue of his fine library, drawn up in 1369, lists a vast number of works of Scripture, history, law, theology, philosophy and polemic. Such reading befitted a man well-versed in ecclesiastical lore, zealous for the sanctification of souls, whose heart was set on safeguarding the property and temporal rights of the Holy See, and who was anxious to bind his pontificate closely to that of his predecessors. 3
After study came prayer, the recital of the Vespers of the Dead and the office of the day; then more audiences were given. As the day drew to its close, Urban liked to wander along the spacious covered walks of the palace or the pleasant gardens that he had had enlarged. At this hour he was pleased to have the company of cardinals and prelates of distinction.
1 Prou, Étude sur les relations politiques du pape Urbain V avec les rois de France Jean II et Charles V, Paris 1887, pp. 3-7.
2 J.-H. Albanès and U. Chevalier, Actes anciens et documents concernant le Bienheureux Urbain V, VOL. 1, Paris 1897, p. 40.
3 F. Ehrle, Historia Bibliothecae Romanorum Pontificum, Rome 1890, pp. 274 -450.
At a given signal, conversation would be broken off and the Pope went back to his apartments to sup, read a little and discuss what he had read with his gentlemen-in-waiting; he would speak of the consolations of the apostolic ministry, tell anecdotes from the lives of the saints, or bemoan the evil ways of the world. Then his confessor and his chaplains and attendants would join in reciting Matins. When it was time for bed, this holy man would stretch himself, fully dressed, on the bare ground. 1
Urban's love of study made him a generous patron of literature and learning. He founded a studium at Trets: a centre of advanced study intended to prepare young men for the famous universities of the day. In 1365 the college of Trets was transferred to Manosque, a place in the Alps which seemed more suitable. Students came in great numbers, both there and to another studium set up at St Germain de Calberte in the diocese of Mende.
All the universities felt the salutary results of the Pope's enlightened patronage: he supported as many as fourteen hundred students at his own expense. Urban drew up new statutes or revised the old ones at the Universities of Orleans, Orvieto, Toulouse and Paris. New universities were set up at Orange, Cracow and Vienna, as well as a school of music at Toulouse. Montpellier, that 'smiling garden of learning' as Urban called it, had a substantial share in his benefactions. After the plague of 1361 and the ravages of the Companies, the Faculty of Law was practically deserted, and the Faculty of Medicine, formerly so flourishing, had no more than thirty students. To bring back the students to these shrines of learning, the Pope founded the College of St Benedict and the College of the Twelve Doctors. So dear were these foundations to his heart that before leaving for Rome he visited the building sites between 9 January and 8 March 1367, to make sure that his orders were being scrupulously carried out. It was a considerable undertaking, for the construction of the monastery and college of St Benedict alone involved the expropriation and demolition of about sixty buildings. 2
Urban's encouragement of art was no less lively than that he gave to learning and letters. He was responsible for the alterations and embellishments made to the papal palace, for the fortifications of Avignon and most particularly for the restoration of the abbey of St Victor at Marseilles. In October 1365 the Pope wished to come in person and admire the work of his architects: he went to Marseilles, consecrated the high altar in the church of his old abbey and loaded
1 M. Chaillan, Le Bienheureux Urbain V, Paris 1911, pp. 32-9.
2 Ibid. pp. 40 - 75.
it with splendid gifts, valuable reliquaries, jewels, tapestries and sacerdotal ornaments. 1
In Lozère, especially, Urban proved to be a great builder. He constructed a cathedral at Mende, restored and beautified the priory at Chirac, founded the collegiate churches of Quézac and Bédouès, endowed a parish church at his native village of Grisac, had a bridge built over the Lot at Salmon, and gave evidence of his bounty at St Bonnet, Moriès, Montjézieu, Banassac, Montferrand, Marijoulet, Auxillac, Ispagnac and Florac. 2
So generous a Pope was bound to inspire love in his people. Indeed, in his lifetime he seems to have been highly esteemed, loved and venerated. Petrarch himself? 3 who did not tend to lavish compliments upon the Avignon Popes, yields to the general feeling when he writes, on the occasion of the Pope's journey to Marseilles: 'Recently, when you made your way to Marseilles, urged by your devotion and desire to see once more that humble nest whence divine Providence and your virtue have caused you to take flight to the highest honours, the people, who are devoted to you and cherish you, received you not as a man, but as God himself, whose vicar and representative you are. Marseilles welcomed you with boundless joy and infinite respect. I know not whether, moved by so touching a sight, you could restrain your tears, but the words that you let fall resounded pleasantly in our ears, and brought us sweet hope. Even if you had, as you have said, no other motive in going to Rome and Italy save that of thus arousing the devotion of the faithful, that should amply suffice to send you on your way.'
Contemporaries also made much of the reforms in the Church introduced by Urban. Petrarch has praised them magnificently in his ornate style. He says in one of his letters: 'I have learned, Holy Father, the great things you have done and which I expected of you. I have learned of your sending back to their churches those prelates that thronged the court of Rome. That is well and excellently done. For what can be more useless and more likely to cause a ship to founder than to see the sailors abandon oars and ropes, and all gather at the stern of the ship, and continually impede the pilot's movements? You have curbed the frenzied pursuit of benefices and forced these insatiably ambitious priests to be content with only one. That is as it should be. Was it not shameful to see some loaded with revenues while many others, far better than they, lived in want?
'I know that you have laboured hard to bring back modesty and
1 Ibid. pp. 93 - 106.
2 Ibid. pp. 107 - 18.
3 De rebus senilibus, Bk VIII, Epistle 1. See Chaillan, op. cit. p. 105.
decency into the manner of dress. In that you are worthy of all praise, for the absurd fashions introduced in our day were no longer to be endured, when men who thought to make themselves appear fine and interesting were really bringing dishonour on themselves. How indeed were the monstrous novelties displayed before us to be endured? -- shoes pointed like the prow of a galley, hats with wings, hair elaborately curled, with long pigtails, and men with ivory combs set on their foreheads, as though they were women? . . . It was right that you, who are the Vicar of the Sun of Justice, should restore justice to its full power, and cause these damnable practices to disappear. . . . 1
Petrarch's praises, like the admiration of Urban V's biographers, have a certain element of exaggeration. It is obvious that they are inspired by the enthusiasm that seized hold of his contemporaries. It is true that Urban was a reformer; but he was only following the example of his predecessor, Innocent VI. His own work, which was far inferior to that of Benedict XII, only consisted in curbing the greed of court procurators and advocates, halving the rate of tenths, decreeing severe penalties in the Constitution Horribilis for the accumulation of benefices, regulating the services of the Apostolic Camera, and insisting on the holding of provincial councils. 2
Moreover, Urban's merits have been praised beyond their deserts: genius cannot be ascribed to him. But he did have a happy combination of qualities, especially that attraction characteristic of sanctity and greatness of soul; and this made him universally popular. Even his virtues were not without some corresponding faults. Thus he followed his generous impulses with no thought for their consequences. He thought it necessary to indulge in excessive liberality, which involved the Papal treasury in heavy debts and was to lead him to borrow from the cardinals and to decree financial measures that were oppressive for the clergy. 3 If he were rebuked for the gifts he made to students, he would reply: 'I hope that the Church of God may abound in learned men. I admit that all those that I am educating and maintaining will not be ecclesiastics. Many will become monks or secular priests, but others will remain in the world and bring up families. What of that? Whatever may be the state that they embrace, even if they were to take up manual labour, it would always be useful to them to have spent some time in study.' 4
1 Op. cit. Bk VII, Epistle 1. See Chaillan, op. cit. p. 105.
2 C. Samaran and G. Mollat, La Fiscalité pontificale en France au XIV e siècle, Paris 1905, pp. 18-21, 231-6.
3 Lecacheux, Urbain V, nos. 800-13.
4 Albanès, op. cit. p. 414. Chaillan, op. cit. p. 207.
The policy of the Pope was entirely one of appeasement, and achieved a success unknown in the time of Innocent VI. Its shortcomings, however, were due to an excessive goodness 'and a certain inability to understand men. For example, the wise tactics used by Albornoz against Bernabo Visconti were frequently thwarted; in this the Pope was guilty of an unfortunate lack of foresight in preventing the complete overthrow of the tyrant of Milan, and he was later to pay dearly for this mistake. Moreover, it must have been either extreme ingenuousness or idealism that led him to wish to send the Companies to conquer the Holy Land. 1
Urban showed real courage and true perspicacity in carrying out a plan that shed glory on his pontificate: that of restoring the Papacy to Rome. Only thus, he considered, could the order restored in the peninsula by Albornoz be made permanent. Moreover, at that time Avignon was none too safe as a place of residence. The Comtat was in constant danger from the depradations of the Companies, and the supposed wealth of the Curia excited the greed of bandits. Bertrand du Guesclin, under the pretext of trying to expel these bandits and to make an expedition against the Infidel, had obtained from Urban in 1365 not only a remission of tenths for the ecclesiastical province of Tours, but an enormous contribution to his warlike activities, valued by Cuvelier, with some exaggeration, at 200,000 francs. This was nothing less than a ransom. 2
On 30 April 1367, Urban left Avignon; he spent two nights at the castle of Sorgues, stayed at Noves, Orgon, and Aix and reached Marseilles on 6 May. While he was waiting for a favourable wind, the cardinals made a last attempt to prevent his departure for Italy and went so far as to threaten to leave him. These tactics of intimidation did not succeed. In order to prove to the members of the Sacred College that he had no need of them, he raised Guillaume d'Aigrefeuille, who was barely twenty-eight, to the cardinalate, and assured them, according to Peter of Hérenthals, that he could produce other cardinals from underneath his cowl. 3
On 19 May the fleet, composed of galleys from Naples, Pisa, Genoa and Venice, together with those of Raimond Bérenger, Grand Master of the Hospitallers, set sail, while the court and a certain number of cardinals took the land route under the protection of the Knights Hospitallers. On the evening of the 19th the fleet called at Toulon, on the 20th at Port-Olive near Nice, on the 21st at
1 Albanès, op. cit. p. 68.
2 Denifle, La Désolation des églises, VOL. 11, pp. 485-8, 498-9.
3 Baluze, Vitae, VOL. 1, p. 403.
St Étienne, on the 22nd at Albenga, on the 23rd at Genoa. On the 28th they made ready to sail to Porto Venere, and were at Salsadas on the 31st, and Pisa on 1 June and Piombino on the next day. On 3 June they landed at Corneto, where a considerable crowd had gathered to greet the Pope. On 9 June, after spending the night at Toscanella, the court entered Viterbo.
Urban V entered Rome on 16 October. Next year, as the heat of summer approached, he retired to the castle of Montefiascone. In this splendid residence, looking out on the magnificent prospect of the Apennines reflected in the deep waters of Lake Bolsena, the Pope thought wistfully of the gentle countryside of the Comtat-Venaissin, for his subjects gave him little cause for satisfaction. Nevertheless, he reappeared among them on 21 October 1368, riding a palfrey whose bridle was held by the Emperor Charles IV. On All Saints' Day the Empress received the imperial crown at St Peter's, in the presence of her noble husband, who created some new knights and served at the altar as a deacon.
The series of solemn rites did not end there. In 1369, on 15 April, the canonisation of Eleazar of Sabran took place, and then the recantation of John V Palaeologus, Emperor of Constantinople was witnessed, 1 on 18 October, in the church of Santo Spirito.
On 5 September 1370, Urban set sail from Corneto. The thirty-four galleys, supplied by the kings of France and Aragon, Queen Joanna of Naples and the people of Avignon and Provence, put into Marseilles on 16 September. Eleven days later, the court entered Avignon with great ceremony.
In the month of November, the Pope had the first attacks of the sickness that was to prove mortal, and from that time he prepared himself for death. This came on Thursday, 19 December 1370 at about three o'clock in the afternoon, in the dwelling of his brother where, for humility's sake, he had desired to be taken, there to end his life of sanctity. 2 Five centuries later, on 10 March 1870, the Church acknowledged his merits by conferring on him the title of 'Blessed'.
1 Prou, op. cit. pp. 79-81. O. Halecki, Un Empereur de Byzance à Rome, Warsaw 1930, pp. 188-212. A. Vasiliev, "'Il viaggio dell' Imperatore bizantino Giovanni V Paleologo (1368-1371) e l' unione di Roma,'" Studi bizantini, VOL. III, 1931, pp. 153-93.
2 Chaillan, op. cit. pp. 196-209.
Gregory XI (1370-78)
ON 29 December 1370, as soon as the nine days decreed by custom for the obsequies of Urban V were over, the cardinals went into conclave; the next morning they unanimously elected as Pope, Pierre Roger de Beaufort, son of Guillaume de Beaufort and Marie du Chambon. Cardinal Roger took the name of Gregory XI and was crowned by Guy de Boulogne on 5 January 1371. Born in 1329 he was then only forty-two years old.
The new Pope had had a rapid career from one ecclesiastical honour to another. At eleven he was already canon of Rodez and of Paris, at nineteen his uncle, Clement VI, had made him cardinaldeacon of Santa Maria Nuova ( 28-29 May 1348). Instead of giving way to the charms of the ostentatious way of life at Avignon, the young man had gone to Perugia, there to attend the lectures of the famous jurist Pietro Baldo degli Ubaldi. Through this association with the master, he had acquired a profound knowledge of law and an unusually balanced judgment. His biographers tell us that Baldo was so proud of his disciple that he took pleasure in quoting his judicial opinions. 1
In Gregory XI moral qualities of no common order were allied to a cultivated mind. Coluccio Salutati, who cannot be accused of being prejudiced in his favour, praises his prudence and discretion, his modest demeanour, his piety, goodness and affability, the uprightness of his character and his steadfastness of purpose in word and deed. 2 A sickly disposition and a delicate constitution had refined his features and added still more to his personal charm.
Though he did not rival the munificence of Urban V -- indeed the sad state of his finances made it impossible -- Gregory XI gave generous support to religious undertakings in Avignon: the convent of St Catherine, the house of the Penitents and the orphanage founded in 1366 by Jean de Jujon and transferred to the hospital of Notre-Dame-du-Pont-Fract. He also added fresh beauties to the palaces of Sorgues and Villeneuve, presented a huge clock to the town
1 Baluze, Vitae, VOL. 1, new ed. p. 460.
2 Epistolario, ed. Novati, VOL. 1, p. 143.
hall at Avignon, helped to mend the bridge of St Bénézet and ordered large-scale restoration work to be done on the Roman palaces. 1
His marked taste for scholarship led him to seek out precious manuscripts and to enrich the papal library with many works by classical authors, as well as with books of ecclesiastical learning. 2
The reform of the Church, which had claimed the attention of Innocent VI and Urban V, found no less zealous an advocate in Gregory. The Knights Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem were at this time in a truly critical state. All their houses were suffering from the same evils: relaxation of discipline and unbridled luxury. Their debts had reached an alarming figure. Gregory instructed the bishops of the whole of Christendom to hold an enquiry and supported the Grand Master, Roger de Pins, in his work of restoring his order, and gave him continuous help. 3
In the East, the Pope, together with the General, Élie Raimond de Toulouse, came to the rescue of the Dominican missions which had been decimated by the pestilence. Of all the monks who had once filled the fifteen houses established in Persia, only three had survived. The Magdeburg Chapter had in 1363 more or less decreed the suppression of the wandering friars, by withdrawing their right to nominate a vicar-general and by attaching the convents of Pera, Caffa and Trebizond, where intending missionaries were trained, to the Greek province. Furthermore, the recruitment of novices was impeded by the Dominican priors of the houses in Europe, who were unwilling to see their young religious set off for the East. Gregory XI forbade any practice that might restrict the scope of the missions and in 1374-5 restored matters to the state they were in before the Chapter of Magdeburg. From that time forward, the wandering friars began once more to lead a virtually autonomous existence; their numbers rapidly increased, especially after Gregory XI had amalgamated them with the congregation of the United Friars of Armenia, composed of monks of the order of St Basil who had been converted to the Roman faith, and who had been officially recognised by Innocent VI on 21 January 1356. 4
On 27 August 1373, Gregory introduced an important reform into the Dominican order in Europe. For the future they were to be allowed to hold chapters-general only once in two years. In order to
1 Cf. E. Müntz, "' Les Arts à la cour des papes au XIVIe siècle, '" Revue de l'art chrétien, VOL. XXXIV, 1891, pp. 183-90; M. Chaillan, Recherches et documents inédits sur l'orphano- trophium du pape Grégoire XI, Aix 1904, and Notices et documents inédits sur la maison des repenties à Avignon au XIVe siècle, Aix 1904.
2 F. Ehrle, Historia, VOL. 1, pp. 451-574.
3 Delaville le Roulx, Les Hospitaliers à Rhodes, Paris 1913, VOL. 1, pp. 170-91.
4 Mortier, Histoire des maîtres généraux, VOL. 11, pp. 320-34, 442-53.
help the General to reform his order he stopped, from 18 November 1373, all privileges and dispensations hitherto granted to the friars by the Holy See or by its legates. A significant detail showing clearly the Holy See's hold on monastic institutions is the granting to the Dominicans of a 'cardinal protector,' normally resident at the Papal court. 1
The defence of the Faith was close to the heart of Gregory XI. He showed his indefatigable zeal in declaring war on heresy and in making use of the terrible weapons that were then at the Church's disposal. Not content with sending the Dominicans to win back Dauphiné, Provence and Lyonnais, which were full of Waldenses, he put an active leader, François Borel, at the head of the Inquisitorial tribunals, with a special nuncio, Bishop Antonio of Massa Maritima, to assist him. Royal officials, who had shown a marked lack of cooperation, had to give way when Charles V issued a formal order for the application of the laws passed against heretics. The Inquisitor's activities were soon crowned with such success that prisons were inadequate to hold all those who escaped the stake or the sword, and the alms of the faithful were besought for the sustenance of those who were detained.
In Aragon, the Pope encouraged Nicolas Eymerich who was hesitant to attack the converted Jews found guilty of sorcery or of heretical doctrine. The Bishop of Lisbon was given a mandate to appoint the first Portuguese Inquisitor, Martino Vasquez. The bishops of Ajaccio and Mariana, assisted by Fra Gabriele da Montalcino, vigorously pursued the Catharists who had fled to the forests and mountains of Corsica. In Sicily, Fraticelli and Jews were hard-pressed, while in Germany, beghards and Flagellants were hunted down by the Inquisitors. 2
Yet Gregory's efforts were not, in the last resort, successful. The Inquisition, despite the impetus it received, was moribund; public authorities were suspicious and jealous of it and no longer gave it much support. Discontent with the Church continued to grow, and heresy remained very much alive in spite of persecution. This was the time when Wycliffe was rousing Europe with his incisive writings and his thundering sermons, when the Bohemian priests Conrad of Waldhausen, Milicz of Cremsier and Matthias of Janow were castigating the disorders of the clergy without restraint. The spirit of insubordination with which these innovators were infusing the
1 Ibid. pp. 397-9.
2 H. C. Lea, History of the Inquisition in the Middle Ages, London 1888, VOL. II, passim.
Christian masses was a distant precursor of the separatist movement that was to culminate in the Reformation. 1
At a time when war was raging with especial violence, Gregory continued to work as nobly as his predecessors had done to bring peace to Europe; in this he displayed a mastery which was worthy of Clement VI. His diplomacy was clear-sighted, versatile and active. It is true that the successes he achieved were mingled with bitter disappointments: plans for a crusade, though constantly put forward, were never realised; the momentary peace in Spain was soon broken by renewed discord; hostilities between France and England, briefly interrupted by truces, broke out afresh. Yet it is only fair to recognise that through the intervention of the Holy See many occasions of international friction were avoided, and that in France the renewed outbreak of war was postponed. As the causes of conflict, however, had not been removed, war was bound to recur.
In the Empire the Papal policy triumphed, and peace was restored between Charles IV and Louis of Hungary, and between the dukes of Bavaria and the count of Savoy. 2
In Italy, the crafty Bernabo Visconti suffered considerable reverses; Florence, haughty and jealous of the temporal power of the Papacy, reaped only losses and insults from her audacious revolt; and the Florentine league that had been formed with such difficulty, broke up in the twinkling of an eye.
Gregory was a subtle diplomat, and knew how to play for time and watch the progress of events before embarking on any action, following his plans from afar and with determination, so that he could take energetic action when the moment seemed favourable. The firmness of his character and the versatility of his mind are nowhere better shown than in the way that he brought to a successful conclusion that undertaking which sheds lustre on his name: the return of the Holy See to Rome.
Having endured to the last moment the pressure to change his mind put upon him by the French court, his cardinals and those near to him, on 13 September 1376, Gregory boarded the ship which was to take him from Avignon. The papal flotilla went down the Rhône and then followed the Durance, called at Noves (14 September), and spent two days at Orgon. From there the company went overland, and reached Marseilles by way of Salon (17th-18th), Trets, St Maximin (19th-20th) and Auriol (20th-22nd).
1 J. Trésal, Les Origines du Schisme Anglican ( 1509-71), Paris 1908, pp. 2, 6-14.
2 L. Mirot, La Politique Pontificale et le Retour du S. Siége à Rome en 1376, Paris 1899, pp. 11-17.
On 2 October, a sad day when 'Never were seen so many tears, lamentations and groanings,' the Pope left the convent of St Victor of Marseilles and set sail in the galley of Ancona. When the breeze began to fill the sails, he was overcome by emotion and, tears running down his pale cheeks, he wept for his native land. Soon a heavy swell developed and the papal fleet was obliged to drop anchor at PortMiou (3 October), and then at Sanary, Ranzels (3-6 October), Reneston, St Tropez (7 October), Antibes (8 October), Nice and Villefranche (9 October). When they were within sight of Monaco a terrible storm arose and the admiral was forced to turn back. Angry waves tossed the ships from side to side; the sails were torn, the ropes broke, the anchors dragged and the terrified sailors feared the ships would be wrecked.
On 17 October it was calm and they were able to put in at Savona, and then on the 18th at Genoa. They set off again on the 28th; but contrary winds prevented them from leaving Porto Fino until 4 November. They touched at Porto Venere on the 6th, stayed at Leghorn from 7 to 14 November, and put in at Piombino on the 15th. Another storm, more terrible than the preceding, scattered the fleet. One of the galleys from Marseilles under the command of Cardinal Jean de la Grange foundered and another ship also went to the bottom.
When the fine weather returned on 29 November they left Piombino. They lay at Orbitello from 30 November until 3 December and landed at Corneto on 6 December. After spending five weeks in this town Gregory put to sea again, and on 17 January 1377, landed from his galley which was moored by the banks of the Tiber near the church of St Paul-without-the-walls. He entered Rome to the acclamations of the crowd, which thronged around him, and admired the brilliant procession of dancers, singers, lute-players and trumpeters, of troops led by Raimond de Turenne, and of ecclesiastical dignitaries, knights and senators.
Gregory XI was not long to enjoy the success of his Italian policy. His health, always delicate and greatly impaired by the trials of his difficult journey, was unable to withstand the rigours of the Roman climate. At the very time when a European congress was meeting at Sarzana with the intention of restoring the balance of power in Italy, the last of the French Popes died during the night of 26-27 March 1378, with a sombre presentiment of the divisions by which the Sacred College was soon to be rent, and the woeful schism that would afflict the Church. 1
1 Baluze, op. cit. VOL. II, pp. 742-3. P. M. Baumgarten, "'Miscellanea cameralia,'" Römische Quartalschrift, VOL. XIX, 1905, pp. 163-8.
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